Ban smoking in cars with children: expert

June 17th, 2009 - 2:59 pm ICT by IANS  

London, June 17 (IANS) A leading British child specialist has called for a ban on smoking in cars that have children in them.
Professor Terence Stephenson, President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, says it is unacceptable that “we can’t smoke in the office or the pub, but we can still smoke in the car when we’re travelling with children.”

“Why on earth would you light up in your car whilst your children are sitting quite happily in the back?” Stephenson said in an article published by the BBC website Wednesday.

“On the assumption that you wouldn’t pass the packet round and invite the kids to light up, why make them breathe tobacco smoke at all?

“You can’t inflict this on your colleagues at work any more. Why should we treat our children’s health as a lower priority than our employees?”

Stephenson said a recent study by the Ontario Tobacco Research Unit showed that drivers smoking just one cigarette increased the level of pollution inside the car by 100 times more than the considered acceptable by the US Environmental Protection Agency.

New Brunswick is the latest province in Canada to introduce legislation banning smoking in cars with children under the age of 16 in it.

He said passive smoking has been found to be strongly linked to chest infections in children, asthma, ear problems and sudden infant death syndrome - also known as cot death.

“Let’s follow the others who seem to have done it successfully - California, South Australia and Cyprus,” Stephenson said.

“This would be a piece of progressive legislation and we would quickly realise the benefits as with other extremely successful motoring interventions - seat belts, (banning the use of ) mobile phones and (banning) drink-driving.”

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