Ban on smoking in cars transporting children protects children from other people’s second-hand smoke

ASH Ireland welcomes the passing of legislation, which protects children from other people’s second hand smoke, while being transported in motor vehicles.  This is important health legislation, which hopefully will have widespread support. This legislation concluded its various stages through the Oireachtas on Thursday, 18th December.

Dr Ross Morgan, Chairman of ASH Ireland said, ‘There is definitive evidence to show that non-smokers travelling in a car, while another person is smoking, will be harmed by the toxic chemicals which are released in such a restricted environment.  It is also well established that children are particularly vulnerable to such toxins as their vital organs are not fully developed’. 

The American Cancer Society advises that ‘if someone smokes there (in a car), the poisons can build up quickly. Again, this can be especially harmful to children’.

The US Environmental Protection Agency warns, ‘The developing lungs of young children are severely affected by exposure to secondhand smoke for several reasons including that children are still developing physically, have higher breathing rates than adults, and have little control over their indoor environments’.

Researchers in UC San Francisco have found that this secondhand smoke in cars poses a major health risk and that the toxins found are “thought to be the most important among the thousands in tobacco smoke that cause smoking-related disease”.

Dr Ross Morgan also said “ASH Ireland first raised the possibility of introducing a ban on smoking in cars with the then Minister for Health, Mary Harney.  During his first few weeks in office, we again raised the possibility of introducing this legislation with Minister James Reilly and he gave a very positive indication in regard to our proposal.  The initiative was then taken up by Senator John Crown and this intervention was hugely important in driving the ASH Ireland proposal to its legislative conclusion”.

Note. The American Association of Cancer Research, in research published last month (November 2014) found that ‘Nonsmokers sitting in an automobile with a smoker for one hour had markers of significantly increased levels of carcinogens and other toxins in their urine, indicating that secondhand smoke in motor vehicles poses a potentially major health risk’.  The report went on to state, ‘The nonsmoking passengers showed elevated levels of butadiene, acrylonitrile, benzene, methylating agents and ethylene oxide’.


For contact: ASH Ireland:  0818-305055

Wally Young, Young Communications:  087-2471520

ASH Ireland responds to misinformation about the highly successful plain packaging initiative in Australia

ASH Ireland has noted a statement issued by Forest Eireann today indicating that there is a 36% increase in the number of young people smoking in Australia since the introduction of the plain packaging legislation.  This is simply untrue and a gross misrepresentation of the data published.  What the report actually says in this regard is:

“between 2010 and 2013, there appeared to be a slight rise in the proportion of people aged 12–17 and people aged 70 or older smoking daily, however this increase in daily smoking was not statistically significant and the trend for those aged 12–17 should be interpreted with caution due to a high relative standard error.

The key findings in this report published by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare indicate that: “Daily smoking among the general population declined between 2010 and 2013 and has almost halved since 1991 (from 24.3% in 1991 down to 12.8% in 2013).

  1. Smokers smoked fewer cigarettes per week in 2013 (96) compared to 2010 (111).
  2. Dependent children were far less likely to be exposed to tobacco smoke inside the home in 2013 (3.7%) compared to 1995 (31%).
  3. The majority of smokers attempted to make a change to their smoking behaviour in the last year.
  4. Smokers trying to quit or change their smoking behaviour tried mainly due to costs and concern for their health”

The report goes on to say that

“Tobacco smoking in Australia continues to decline. More specifically:

  • In 2013, 12.8% of people in Australia aged 14 or older were daily smokers, declining from 15.1% in 2010 (Figure 3.1)
  • One-quarter (24%) of the population were ex-smokers and this has remained fairly stable since 1998 when the proportion of ex-smokers first exceeded the proportion smoking daily.
  • Since 1991, the proportion of daily smokers has almost halved, and has declined to the lowest levels seen over the 22-year period. There has also been a corresponding rise in the proportion who have never smoked from 49% in 1991 to 60% in 2013.
  • The number of people smoking daily in 2013 fell by approximately 200,000 people (2.7 million in 2010 down to 2.5 million in 2013).”

Dr Ross Morgan said today “It is vitally important that all involved in the current debate on plain packaging rely on facts to support their respective positions.  The introduction of plain packaging has been an outstanding success in regard to a range of smoking related issues in Australia.  This is a vitally important health legislation which based on the Australian experience has the capacity to significantly reduce smoking prevalence in this country and specifically deglamorise the smoking pack in the eyes of young people who may be tempted to take up smoking.  The deglamorising of the tobacco pack is of course a major concern for the Tobacco Industry as any legislation which deglamorises tobacco will ultimately reduce smoking prevalence and profits within the industry”.


For contact: ASH Ireland, 0818 305055

Wally Young, Young Communications, 087 2471520