By RONAN McGREEVY
A BAN on smoking in cars is being considered by the Government, Minister for Health Dr James Reilly has said.
Dr Reilly, who advocated such a radical measure while in opposition, said a potential ban was being considered in the context of the tobacco policy review taking place.
In a response to a parliamentary question from Fianna Fáil TD Seán Fleming as to whether he would consider banning smoking in cars where children under 16 were present, Dr Reilly said he was “in favour of legislating in this area” but added the public would need persuading first.
The Welsh assembly is considering banning smoking in cars where children are present within three years unless motorists change their behaviour.
A Department of Health spokeswoman said officials were examining two scenarios here. One involved a ban on smoking where children under 16 were present. The other involved a blanket ban on smoking in private cars if it was deemed that a limited prohibition involving children was unworkable.
This could make Ireland the first country to impose such a ban. Smoking in taxis, company cars and vans, which are classed as workplaces, is already prohibited.
Dr Reilly said the extent of smoking in cars needed to be assessed and followed by a campaign to persuade the public a ban was necessary. He said breaching the ban would be considered as either a road traffic offence or public health issue.
Earlier this month, the Welsh assembly said it wanted to make Wales the first country to introduce a ban on smoking in cars containing children.