The Minister for Health, Dr James Reilly, has said the Government is considering banning smoking in cars.
According to a report in today's Irish Times, Dr Reilly said he was “in favour of legislating in this area” but added the public would need persuading first.
He was responding to a parliamentary question from Fianna Fail TD Sean Fleming.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Health confirmed that officials were examining two possible scenarios.
One would be a ban on smoking if children under 16 were present. If this was considered unworkable, a blanket ban on smoking in private cars would be considered.
If implemented, this would make Ireland the first country to impose such a ban. Smoking in taxis, company cars and vans, which are classed as workplaces, is already prohibited.
Anti-smoking campaigner Luke Clancy said today that a comprehensive ban would work. “Second hand smoke levels in cars are very high and second hand smoke can be lethal,” he said.
Previous evidence had shown that when people became aware of the dangers of second hand smoke they were not prepared to harm others.