Ireland’s Health Minister is to press ahead with tough new laws to ban smoking in cars – and says he is doing it for the kids.
Minister James Reilly will have the legal paperwork for the ban drawn up within weeks, according to the Irish Sun.
And the Fine Gael minister, a doctor in his own right, believes smokers will be so embarrassed that police won’t even have to enforce the law.
He told the paper, “I have absolutely no doubt that the gardai [Irish police] will be able to enforce this.
“But they won’t have to themselves, because it will be peer pressure from other drivers who will look across and see a kid in a car with an adult smoking.”
Minister Reilly made the announcement as Ireland celebrates the 10th anniversary of the ban on smoking in the workplace.
And he has warned tobacco companies that he will continue with the government’s quest to make Ireland smoke-free by 2025.
He added, “These things take time – there are lots of complexities there. We’ve nearly bottomed out all the arguments, there’s one left that’s problematic for us.
“Who’s responsible if you’ve got a 17-year-old with a full driving license and there’s another 17-year-old smoking beside him?
“All of this has to be sorted out and we’re nearly there, I’m very happy to say.”
Cigarette companies will also be forced to package their goods in plain packaging under new laws.
The Minister added, “In relation to standardized packaging, we’re going to be very careful about this.
We’re not going to be so foolish to rush and to make it easy for the tobacco industry to take it out.
“I want to bring in standardized packaging which makes it very clear to kids what this product does to them.”
After praising then Health Minister Micheal Martin for the ‘groundbreaking initiative’ of the 2004 ban, Dr Reilly said: “What I want to do now is tackle the very root of this – what we have to remember is that 5,200 people die every year in this country from tobacco related illness.
“This industry focuses and targets our children.”