Give up smoking once and for all

Health Minister Robin Swann has urged people to give up smoking ahead of a new law aimed at protecting children from the harm caused by inhaling second-hand smoke.

From February 1, the regulations will extend current smoke-free provisions to private vehicles where children are present, when there is more than one person in the vehicle, and the vehicle is enclosed. It will be an offence to smoke in such a vehicle and will also be an offence for a driver to fail to prevent smoking in a smoke-free private vehicle.

Minister Swann said: “It’s important that smokers are aware of the new regulations and realise that if you smoke in a car while a child is there, or if you’re the driver and you allow someone to smoke in these circumstances, you will be committing an offence which carries a hefty penalty.

“This change in the law is widely supported by the public, charities and the Northern Ireland Assembly, and with good reason: smoking kills thousands of people in Northern Ireland every year and exposure to second hand smoke damages the health of your loved ones, particularly children. I would encourage smokers to think of this further change in the law as the motivation to give up smoking once and for all.”

In addition, from February 1, it will also be an offence to sell nicotine inhaling products to children and to purchase, or attempt to purchase, such products on behalf of a child (a proxy purchasing offence).