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Ireland is one step closer to a ban on smoking near children in cars

A bill will go to the Dáil next week, and has government support.

Source: PA Archive/Press Association Images

A BILL TO ban smoking in cars where children are present will go before the Dáil next week, it was confirmed this morning.

One of the three Senators who initiated the bill, Mark Daly of Fíanna Fáil, told TheJournal.ie he expected it to pass into law quickly next week.

It took us two years to pass this in the Seanad, but when we did we had the support of [Children's] Minister Reilly, and the government.
Any amendments to the bill were already added, so we’re expecting quick passage with cross-party support.

Daly, along with Independent Senators Jillian van Turnhout and Professor John Crown, first introduced a draft of the ban back in April 2012.

However, it didn’t pass through the Seanad until two years later, something Daly attributed to the “fine technical detail” in the text.

We sought legal advice regarding the constitutionality of the ban, and in relation to EU law, road safety law, and we consulted with the Departments of Justice and Health.
We’re confident the law can and will be enforced by the Gardaí, but it’s not so much about handing out fines, but more about public awareness.

The Kerry-based Senator said many people simply didn’t know the harms associated with smoking in the presence of children.

The statistics are that smoking in a car next to a child for an hour does the same damage as a firefighter being exposed to a forest fire for eight hours.

Read the bill in full here:

http://cdn.thejournal.ie/media/2014/10/b38b12s.pdf

The Protection of Children’s Health (Tobacco Smoke in Mechanically Propelled Vehicles) Bill, as passed in the Seanad on 17 April, would outlaw the following:

The smoking by a person (including a child) of a tobacco product in a mechanically propelled vehicle in a public place and in which a child (or another child if the person smoking is a child) is present…

If the person smoking is a passenger, the driver would also be guilty of an offence, punishable by a fixed charge notice.

Similarly to Ireland’s seat-belt laws, Gardaí would be authorised to stop a vehicle where they believe a child is present while someone is smoking.

Read: It’s official – Ireland will be the first country in the EU to bring in plain packaging on cigarettes>

Aaron McKenna: Anti-tobacco policies are lining criminals’ pockets>

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Dan MacGuill

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