WE are urgently calling on the Executive to protect young people from the deadly effects of passive smoking by introducing a ban on smoking in cars where children are present.
Passive smoking claims thousands of lives each year across the UK and this is the right time for the Executive to take a leading role in reducing the impact of smoking in Northern Ireland.
Both Scotland and the Republic of Ireland are already moving forward on this issue and the Executive at Stormont needs to make a similar commitment and bring forward a consultation on a Bill to ban smoking in cars as a matter of urgency.
Legislation to ban smoking in cars where children are present would protect this most vulnerable group from a hazard that can cause them significant harm, in a space that is already well-regulated.
Legislation could also increase awareness of the harms associated with passive smoking and encourage people to protect others in other enclosed locations, such as at home.
Passive smoking contributes to a 25% increased risk of stroke and a 30% increased risk of coronary heart disease. With three-quarters of the UK population in support of this legislation, which will save lives and improve public health, now is the time to act.
British Heart Foundation
ANDREW P DOUGAL
NI Chest Heart & Stroke
Stroke Association (NI)