Smoking ban needed where sense has failed
Published 18/12/2015 | 02:30
There was something of a synchronicity attached to the fact that the ban on smoking in cars with children was launched on the same day that a report reveals that most cancers are caused by external factors.
A recent survey indicated that almost one in five children are exposed to smoke in cars.
Minister for Children James Reilly hopes the ban will herald a culture change. As oncologist Professor John Crown said, the new regulations were not really about sanctioning and fining people.
"A child who is in a car with a smoker for one hour is exposed to approximately the same level of hazardous smoke as a fire fighter is if they're fighting a bush fire."
Dr Crown put it succinctly - all of the risks of passive smoking are amplified in the small confines of a car. Common sense should dictate that smoking in such circumstances is a no-brainer, but if it takes sanctions to hammer the point home so be it.
For we also learned yesterday that nine in 10 cancers are caused by environmental and external factors.
These include smoking, drinking, sun exposure and air pollution. Risks can therefore be either reduced or increased by changes in behaviour. The findings give hope that many cancers may be more preventable than previously thought.