Wales to ban smoking in cars with children

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The first minister has announced that smoking in cars when children are passengers will be banned in Wales.

The Health Minister, Mark Drakeford, and Carwyn Jones have stated that a consultation will be launched on this ruling, which aims to protect children from the harmful effect of second-hand smoke.

Wales has become the first region in the UK to tackle this issue.

Individuals who ignore this ban may be issued with fines, along with points on their driver’s licences.

All new regulations that are introduced will be applicable to Wales only, however the Welsh government has made contact with the Department of Health in England in a bid to co-ordinate approaches on this issue.

Research undertaken by Cardiff University has shown that 10% of children in Wales are continually being exposed to smoke in cars.

The leader of the study, Dr Graham Moore, has welcomed the ban. He said that there is evidence which indicates high public support levels for a ban on smoking in cars with children present. He stated that their study results show that there is a need for action to make smoking with children present less socially acceptable, be it in the home or the car.

The first minister said that he welcomes the decline in figures of people smoking in cars with children, however there are still too many youngsters being exposed to smoke.

Mr Drakeford said that progress has been made in the reduction of second-hand smoke to children, but he believes that the new regulation which will ban smoking in private vehicles where under-18s are present is the final piece in the jigsaw to end exposure inequality. He said that the proposal phase will now commence and people are urged to respond to it.

A vote was taken earlier during the year in Westminster and was passed by 376 votes to 107. It allowed ministers in England and Wales to introduce the ban, but they were not compelled to.

The Department of Health in England has started a six-week consultation period after the government stated that it wanted to see a ban in place prior to the 2015 general election.

Image Credit: zoetnet

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