Dr Patrick Doorley, Chairperson of ASH Ireland spoke recently about the importance of the ban on smoking in cars with children and said:
ASH Ireland first proposed a ban in smoking in cars in 2008 and we are very pleased that it is in place. We believe that this important piece of legislation is helping to ensure that our children are protected from the harmful effects of passive (environmental) tobacco smoke.
Prior to the ban, one in seven Irish children was being exposed to tobacco smoke in cars, which was totally unacceptable. 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. Researchers have found that secondhand smoke in cars poses a major health risk and the toxins found are thought to be the most important among the thousands in tobacco smoke that cause smoking-related disease.
Children’s lungs are particularly sensitive and it is well established that children are very vulnerable to such toxins in cars. Adults who suffer from asthma and other respiratory conditions are also affected of course. We believe that the introduction of the law has heightened awareness about the harm caused by smoking in cars, especially to children. Like the ban on smoking in the workplace, it was not envisaged that this initiative would have to be driven by fear of prosecution. It is the law and we believe that the vast majority of smokers, and particularly parents, are responsible and comply with legislation. We would hope therefore that significantly fewer children are being exposed to tobacco smoke in motor vehicles since the ban was introduced.