independent

Tuesday 16 September 2014

End is in sight for smoking drivers

DEBORAH COLEMAN

Published 18/04/2012 | 09:10

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IT WAS music to my ears this week to learn that a number of Senators are working to introduce legislation which will finally make it illegal for adults to smoke with children in cars. It's appalling that this selfish and dangerous act has not already been outlawed.

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At the time that the smoking ban in pubs and restaurants was introduced it should have been a no-brainer however eight years later, parents are still free to drive and puff regardless of their young passengers.

At present it is illegal for an adult to smoke in a company vehicle even if they are alone, however in a private car an adult can light up any time they please, alone or not.

Research suggests that one hour spent in a smoke filled car is as damaging as ten hours in a smoky pub due to the confined space.

Tobacco has killed an estimated 50 million people in the past decade, yet some people persist in inflicting their disgusting habit on others and refuse to acknowledge the damage that second hand smoke can cause.

The fact that anyone would argue against this proposed legislation is beyond me but there are always some people who take umbrage at any threat to their habit/addiction and will bleat about the rights of smokers too.

Of course, any individual over the age of 18 is perfectly within their rights to smoke their way to ill health or worse but the issue at heart is that children who are too young or vulnerable to argue against it are made to sit in a car with a smoking adult.

At least once a week I see it and am always filled with shock as to how in an age where so much education is available on the dangers of smoking that parents would be so careless.

An education is what is needed. There is no use changing a law for it to be flouted as people complain that what they do in their own cars is nobody's business but their own.

When it involves the health of youngsters however, then notice must be taken.

Not everybody is socially responsible where smoking is concerned and for every considerate and mature smoker out there, there is an 'I'll smoke where I want, when I want' type who is steadfast in their determination to defend their habit how it impacts on others.

They believe that the government and society in general is out to get them and this is not true.

When the initial smoking ban was introduced in 2004 there was nothing but moaning about having to leave the pub for a cigarette but gradually people got used to it and, dare I say it, began to understand the reasons behind the law.

I would like to think that even more logic and awareness would be given to this proposed change and that the final hurdle can soon be cleared in terms of stamping out the problem but more importantly that people will realise why it has to be done.

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