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Irish government may ban smoking in cars carrying children

Sat 12th January, 2013

Legislation to ban smoking in cars in Ireland where children are passengers may be ready by the end of the month.

Under the draft legislation, which is said to have been approved by Minister for Health James Reilly, both passengers and drivers could face large fines for smoking in a commercial or private vehicle carrying children under the age of 16.

Anti-smoking campaign group ASH Ireland welcomed the move.

“ASH Ireland first raised this issue, as a possible health initiative, with Minister Harney in 2005,” said chairman Dr Ross Morgan.

“In April 2010 ASH Ireland met the newly appointed Minister James Reilly and again pushed for this health initiative to be introduced - and then received a commitment from the Minister that he would proceed as soon as was feasible.

“We now again encourage the Minister to ensure that there are no further delays with a proposal, which has been with his Department for over seven years” Dr Morgan added.

Smokers' group Forest Eireann said the move was "disproportionate, illiberal and a distraction from the many more serious issues facing our country".

John Mallon, spokesman for Forest in Ireland, said: "We don't condone adults who smoke in a car carrying children but legislation, and fines of €3,000, are disproportionate to the offence. Education is far better than legislation.

"For most people their car is a private space so this is a worryingly illiberal step. What next? A ban on smoking in the home if children are present?"

Sources: RTE NewsIrish TimesForest Eireann  (January 12, 2013)

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