Seanad to debate proposed ban on smoking in cars with children

The Seanad will debate new legislation next month calling for smoking to be banned in cars where children are present.

It comes 10 years after the workplace smoking ban was introduced by the then Health Minister, Michéal Martin.

A recent study in Canada found that second-hand smoke in cars was significantly associated with chronic bronchitis in children and adolescents aged between 12 and 19.

Senator John Crown, who has published this new legislation, said second-hand smoke in cars can have a significant impact on a person's health.

"Smoking in the confines of a car exposes the passengers in that car to an extraordinarily high level of pollution from the cigarettes, which contain many cancer-causing and other dangerous chemicals," he said.

"One hour spent in a car with people who are smoking is equivalent to the level of exposure that a firefighter gets over 6-8 hours of fighting a bush fire."

Senator Crown said he is confident that this ban would be embraced in the same way as the 2002 smoking ban.

"At the time (of the 2002 ban) there was conjecture that there would be huge opposition - people actually thought that perhaps this legislation could not be enforced.

"As we know, it caused a huge culture shift very very quickly and I am hopeful that the same thing will happen with this legislation."

Senator Crown said those caught smoking in cars with children, would be fined and that it could easily be introduced as an amendment to the current legislation.

"It really should be non-controversial" he said.

"I do hope there will be unanimous, all-party support for this."

Most Read in Ireland