NICHS have welcomed the introduction of a Bill to outlaw the sale of E cigarettes to under 18s and said it represented a ‘golden opportunity’ to also ban smoking in cars.
“Simon Hamilton is right to have brought this legislation forward so that e–cigarettes are not sold to under 18s. There is just enough time to get this legislation through before the elections and the Minister is to be praised for bringing it forward.”
Neil Johnston, Public Affairs Adviser to Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke went on to appeal to Assembly members to use the opportunity to ban smoking in cars:
“This Bill will bring Northern Ireland into line with the rest of the country on e–cigarettes and, with an amendment; we can ensure that children in cars are protected from smoking in cars and catch up with both GB and the Republic. It is a golden opportunity to prioritise the health of our children.”
A ban on smoking in cars carrying children came into force in England and Wales on 1st October and legislation in progressing in both Edinburgh and Dublin.
“We need to take every measure we can to protect children from smoking and to discourage people from smoking. The NI Executive is currently failing to meet its own targets on cutting smoking.”
Mr Johnston drew attention to the results of the recent annual NI Health Survey.
“The latest survey shows that 22% of the population are current smokers – a figure that has barely changed in ten years. And yet the NI Executive has set itself the target of cutting that figure to 15% by 2020.”
“Does anyone believe we can cut the numbers of people smoking by a third in the next five years without determined action and using every opportunity to discourage smoking?”