Northern Ireland

Proposals to ban smoking in cars carrying children

Person smoking in a car with a child, file pic
Image caption The eight-week consultation will seek views on the proposed new offences

Plans to ban smoking in private vehicles carrying children are to be discussed, the health minister has announced.

Michelle O'Neill said it was "inconceivable that we continue to allow children to be exposed to such harm".

In February 2016, Assembly members voted in favour of introducing the ban.

Similar legislation came into force in England and Wales in October 2015 and in Scotland in December 2016.

In the Republic of Ireland, a ban took effect last year.

The consultation will run from 6 January 2017 to 3 March 2017.

The draft regulations propose that the existing legislation, as set out in the Smoking (Northern Ireland) Order 2006, will be extended so that it will be an offence to:

  • Smoke in a private vehicle with someone under 18 present
  • Fail to prevent smoking in a private vehicle with someone under 18 present

'Range of illnesses'

The minister said: "The health impact of exposure to second-hand smoke has long been recognised and indeed was the motivating factor behind the introduction of legislation to ban smoking in all indoor public and work places in 2007."

The World Health Organisation recognises that second-hand smoke is a significant threat to health, particularly amongst children, who are more likely to suffer from range of illnesses.

The consultation will seek views on the proposed new offences, suggested exemptions and "views on how the new measures will be enforced".

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