The executive is criticized for its alleged lack of measures to ban smoking in cars with children.
Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation urge ministers to act and introduce a new law to punish people for smoking in their private vehicles.
“Draft regulations to restrict smoking in private vehicles when children are present were consulted in 2017 but could not be further developed at this time, as they are subject to approval by the Northern Ireland Assembly, “a department spokesman told the Belfast Telegraph.
” The draft regulation is expected to be presented in the near future for the necessary approvals. “
According to Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation, smoking in a car, even with the window open, means that large amounts of fumes are circulating in and out of the vehicle All present are breathed in.
Legislation in the rest of the UK and Ireland makes it illegal to smoke in a vehicle with anyone under the age of 18. In England and Wales, a £ 50 fine is imposed on the smoker, as is the driver who allows it.
The partnership organization noted that the 2016 gathering voted for the ban but has delayed introduction with the collapse “When the power-sharing government was restored in 2020, promises were made again that these new rules would come into effect,” the organization said. “Unfortunately Covid intervened and nothing has developed in the almost 18 months since then.”
“In the course of our lives, unfortunately, one in five of us will develop a lung disease. It can have a huge impact on our lives and we must do everything we can to prevent it from affecting more people, “said Joseph Carter, director of Asthma UK & of the British Lung Foundation in Northern Ireland.
” Smoking is incredibly dangerous as it both damages your lungs and contributes to the development of other diseases such as cancer. This is especially true for young children, whose lungs are still developing.
“Being trapped in a smoke-filled car creates a high level of used smoke and puts our children at risk. With the continued delay, more of our children will suffer and Northern Ireland continues to lag behind the rest of the UK and Republic.
Pam Cameron, DUP MLA for South Antrim, supports the call for a ban. She wrote to Minister of Health Robin Swann regarding new regulations, but claims of lack of clarity about them would go into effect.
“The Minister of Health claims this is a priority for him. If this is really the case, we need to see less vague commitments and more real measures to advance these regulations and protect our children, “said Ms. Cameron.
Health Secretary Robin Swann said last night:” I continue to strive to do that Prohibit smoking in cars when children are present. I deeply regret that the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed progress on this and other important issues. “
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