Fine Gael Dublin Senator, Catherine Noone, has today (Tuesday) encouraged the Government to speed up legislation to ban smoking in cars carrying children, after the UK parliament voted in favour of the measure. The UK ban is due to be introduced before the next general election in 2015.
“This is a progressive step by UK MPs, and one that I am keen for us to replicate here. Evidence on the negative impact of passive smoking on children’s health is stark. According to the Department of Health, passive smoking can cause a 25% increased risk of lung cancer and a 30% increased risk of heart disease. US research has also highlighted the increased risk associated with the concentrated exposure levels of smoke in cars.
“The Minister for Health, James Reilly TD, has given his support to a Private Member’s Bill drafted by Senator John Crown, which will ban smoking in cars where children are present. I understand that amendments are being drafted to the legislation, in collaboration with the Attorney General, the Gardaí and the Department of Justice.
“Ireland already has a reputation for leading the charge in the fight against smoking. The smoking ban in workplaces revolutionised our approach to the fatal habit, and Minister Reilly is also committed to a range of other measures, such as plain packaging and banning smoking in public places.
“Banning smoking in cars carrying children should be treated as a priority, as children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of second-hand smoke, including asthma, cot death and other respiratory diseases. Research also indicates that passive smoking could also increase the rate of childhood cancers, and of cancer occurring later in life.
“It is totally unacceptable that thousands of Irish children are being exposed to such dangerous toxins in the confined space of a car. By implementing a ban, we will be joining other countries such as the US, Canada and Australia. I am urging Minister Reilly to progress the planned legislation without delay.”