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