Protection of Children's Health (Tobacco Smoke in Mechanically Propelled Vehicles) Bill 2012: Second Stage

I move: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."

I am pleased to be here today to introduce this important Bill to the House. Protecting children from harmful tobacco products has long been a priority for me, both as Minister for Health and in my current role as Minister for Children and Youth Affairs. I supported this legislation when it was introduced as a Private Members' Bill, developed and introduced by Senators Crown, van Turnhout and Daly. In June 2012, I received Government approval for the principle of prohibiting smoking in cars with children present and for the drafting of amendments to the Private Members' Bill. The Department of Health worked in consultation with the Senators, the Attorney General's Office, the Department of Justice and Equality, the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, and the Garda Síochána on amendments to the legislation. All of the amendments were accepted during Report Stage of the Private Members' Bill in the Seanad on 17 April and this included changing the Bill's name to the Protection of Children's Health (Tobacco Smoke in Mechanically Propelled Vehicles) Bill.

The clock says I have ten minutes and 43 seconds left. That is not correct, I have 20 minutes - though I may not use that full period.

The Minister has 20 minutes.

The purpose of the Bill is to prohibit smoking in cars where children are present and it will be enforced by the Garda Síochána. Environmental tobacco smoke is a carcinogen and contains the same cancer causing substances and toxic agents that are inhaled by the smoker. There is no safe level of exposure to second-hand smoke. In children, exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke is a recognised risk factor for the development of asthmatic symptoms and increased risk of other illnesses such as pneumonia, bronchitis and middle ear infections. Exposure to tobacco smoke is particularly harmful in enclosed spaces, such as cars. Children's exposure to second hand smoke in cars is involuntary - they are unable to remove themselves from risk if people smoke around them. This Bill is very significant, therefore, in protecting children. I commend Senators Crown, van Turnhout and Daly for originally bringing this Bill forward.

I will now take the Deputies through the Bill section by section to clarify its provisions. Section 1 deals with the interpretation of some of the terms used for the purposes of the Bill. For example, a child is defined as any person under 18 years of age. The terms "mechanically propelled vehicle" and "public place" have the same meanings as laid out in the Road Traffic Act 1961.

Section 2 sets out the prohibition on smoking tobacco products in mechanically propelled vehicles in which a child is present.

It specifies that a person who smokes a tobacco product in a vehicle in which a child is present shall be guilty of an offence. This also applies in situations where the smoker himself or herself is under 18 years of age and is in the presence of another child. Where this offence is committed by someone who is not the driver, the driver shall also be guilty of an offence.

The section does, however, contain defence provisions. A defence exists where the person smoking reasonably believed that others present in the vehicle were over 18 years of age. There are also defences for the driver. One defence is that the driver was unable to stop the other person from smoking because he or she did not wish to take any action which might compromise the safety of the passengers. Another defence is where it can be shown that the driver made all reasonable efforts to stop the other person smoking. This section also states that where An Garda Síochána is of the view that a person present is a child, then this presumption remains until the contrary is shown and proved.

Section 3 sets out the powers of An Garda Síochána under the Bill. Where a member of the Garda believes that a person is smoking in a vehicle with a child present, he or she may ask the driver to stop the car, and demand the name and address of any person who may be committing an offence. Where a person fails to stop the car, or to give his or her name and address, or provides false information, he or she shall be guilty of an offence.

Section 4 makes provisions for the issuing of a fixed charge notice in connection with offences under the Bill. It specifies that a fixed charge notice may be served on a person where a garda has grounds to believe that he or she has committed an offence under the Bill. The provisions, on which I will not go into detail here today, are similar to the standard operating procedure already in place under the fixed charge notice system operated under the road traffic Acts.

Section 5 deals with regulations, allowing the Minister for Health to make regulations for prescribed items in the legislation, for example, the form to be used for issuing a fixed charge notice under the Bill, and the prescribed amount to be paid under the notice.

Under Section 6, a person who is guilty of an offence under the Act shall be liable on summary conviction to a class D fine. This includes an offence of refusing to stop the vehicle, refusing to give a name or address, or giving false information. At present, a class D does not exceed €1,000.

Section 7 of the Bill makes standard provisions setting out the Short Title of the Bill and arrangements for its commencement.

Before I finish I wish to remind Deputies that for five decades, the tobacco industry deliberately concealed facts about the dangers of smoking. It disputed any link between second-hand smoke and poor health. I ask Members not to allow for any manipulation of the truth. The truth is that smoking kills, and that second-hand smoke is a recognised risk factor for the development of asthmatic symptoms and increases the risk of other respiratory illnesses and other problems.

I thank Senators for originally bringing forward the legislation. Before I sit down I want to draw for the House the image of a child stuck in a child seat in the back of a car in a fog of smoke, to his or her detriment. As a State we owe a duty of care to children. As the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs I owe a particular duty of care to children. We must protect children from irresponsible adults who would expose them to such a serious risk to their health.

A newspaper article published today rightly points out the plain packaging legislation will face technical objections from some countries in the EU. I had a phone call this afternoon from the Commissioner, Mr. Tonio Borg, stating the Commission has made no negative comment on the Bill. It is important people understand this.

I commend the Protection of Children's Health (Tobacco Smoke in Mechanically Propelled Vehicles) Bill 2014 to the House. The Opposition has been very kind and good in its support in the past and I look forward to its support on this also.

We support the provisions in the Bill and we welcome the fact it has made its way to the House so we can discuss its import and broader issues regarding the tobacco industry. I welcome the Minister's remark that the Commission had no negative comment on the Bill with regard to plain packaging.

I like to say I am constructive in opposition. The Minister and I very often disagreed when he held his previous role, but I have always acknowledged, which may not make him feel any better, the efforts he has made in his fight against the tobacco trade and industry, including during the Irish Presidency of the EU. It is important we accept the tobacco industry is quite insidious in how it targets people, and there is no doubt about this. I have raised this issue in the House many times.

As the Minister stated, for 50 years the industry hid the fact passive smoking causes physical harm to people. It hid the statistics and facts regarding the impact of tobacco on the health of individuals and nations. It hid the fact that for years it has flooded countries with huge amounts of tobacco so it can find its way into the illegal trade. All of these things are done by companies registered on stock exchanges throughout the world. The industry also hid the fact that in their advertising campaigns companies target young children in poor developing countries in Asia and Africa. All of this is out there and must be acknowledged.

I can understand the pressure a government can come under internally and externally because of strong lobbying, including at governmental level. Clearly there have been moves afoot by some European countries to try to water down the plain packaging legislation which the Minister pioneered. This in itself is an indication the tobacco industry has allies at very high levels. We can understand why this is, as some countries have large numbers of tobacco-growing farmers and large companies manufacturing cigarettes which provide employment, but this should not deter us from doing what is right, and what is right is to ensure we make every effort to protect the health of our citizens.

The Minister stated the Commission made no negative comments on the plain packaging legislation. I hope we are not deterred from leading the way internationally in our fight against tobacco companies and the tobacco industry. Our only motivation is to ensure our citizens have as much opportunity as possible to live a life without the pressure of addiction to nicotine and tobacco-related illnesses, which affect so many people. According to the statistics almost 1,500 people develop lung cancer each year, and most cases are directly associated to smoking. There are also many other ailments and illnesses and it also affects quality of life. To be a slave to nicotine for all one's life can have a huge debilitating impact on one's self-esteem, finance and well-being. This can have an impact on people fulfilling their lives physically and mentally and this factor should also be taken into account.

For all these reasons any legislation or policy brought forward by the Minister to discourage people from smoking and encourage people to give up, and which takes the fight internationally to the tobacco companies throughout the world which have endless resources and, unfortunately, an endless supply of customers because of their nefarious ways of enticing young people to take up smoking, is something we will consistently support, encourage and applaud. The Minister used the Irish Presidency of the EU very effectively to highlight the importance of the EU taking the lead in this issue.

The statistics and facts cannot be disputed any further. All empirical evidence shows quite clearly that tobacco is a killer. It destroys people's health and lives. Even this Bill is an acknowledgement that we must make every effort to protect people in our society. The Bill is targeted at juveniles and young people. The Minister asked us to think of a child strapped in a car seat with a fog of smoke.

A child strapped in a car seat in the back and a fog of smoke in the car is something that people now look at in shock and horror. In a short time our society's behavioural patterns have evolved, including in the area of drink-driving and the wearing of seatbelts. We need legislation to change human behaviour at times. We need legislation to encourage and we also need legislation that is used as a means of changing people's perspectives of how they view certain circumstances. It is now socially unacceptable to smoke in many cases and many environments. Equally it must be socially unacceptable to smoke in cars when juveniles and children are in the vehicle. That is why we are supporting the Bill.

I acknowledge the sponsors of the Bill on its inception in the Seanad: Senator Crown, an eminent oncologist; Senator van Turnhout, who has experience with children and child protection; and Senator Daly. It indicates that when an idea has merit, it is embraced by the Minister and taken on board. It is very welcome that it is now winding its way through the legislative process to its finality.

The Minister outlined the basic thrust of the Bill, including the principle of the Bill, the enforcement sections and the penalties. As always in such areas, it is important to have an advertising campaign on the provisions of the Bill. I believe that if the reason legislation is being introduced is explained in a coherent and concise manner, it always has better buy-in than if it is just passed into statute and we find enforcement without explanation. I hope the Minister will be able to organise an advertising campaign around this. When trying to change behavioural patterns, for example with recycling and safety on farms, if advertising campaigns are done through children they can have greater benefit than if they are done through adults.

On the broader issue of smoking, as I have mentioned earlier and in previous debates, we must accept that nicotine is an addiction. People will go to enormous lengths and endure financial hardship to smoke and feed their nicotine habit. I say that as a person who battles with that particular addiction and from time to time I fall off the wagon. We must have supports in place for people who want to give them up. I know the HSE has a helpline but we need to encourage people consistently to stop smoking.

In terms of policy, we have decided that we should continue to increase the price of tobacco products. We have also decided to make them unattractive through the use of the plain packaging and also the graphic photographs on tobacco products. Those are all very welcome measures. However, at the end of the day, the fact that it is an addiction means that people need help to give them up. Through advertising and promotional work we should target that type of message throughout stated health policy. As opposed to using the stick at all times, we need to make people believe that they can kick the habit.

The tobacco industry is working insidiously in the background on how it promotes its product. A very worrying trend based on the statistics is the number of girls who take up smoking, which is a key area to be addressed. One does not need any statistical data to see kids leaving secondary schools and lighting up. It is used in terms of making them look like Kate Moss or some other high-profile person. This type of advertising is subtly fed out by the tobacco industry to imply that smoking acts as an appetite suppressant and one will not put on weight. This is done in a very insidious way and has undercurrents all the time. This highlights the levels to which tobacco companies will stoop to get another generation of people addicted to their products. We need to be progressive and proactive in that area. We need advertising campaigns targeted at particular groups of people to counteract the insidious message that comes from tobacco companies.

The smoking ban has been in place for ten years. That is an indication that people can embrace something when it is explained and done for positive reasons. This legislation is also done for all the right reasons. I can see no downside reaction from people other than it can discommode people's habits, but it is done for many reasons. The smoking ban was introduced as a workplace ban, but the people who benefited more than anybody else were the smokers because it reduced the amount they consumed. Previously they could go into a pub, order a pint, sit up on the high stool and smoke 20 cigarettes. The requirement to go out and come back in reduced individuals' consumption. Anytime one cigarette less is smoked, it has to be of benefit.

The same will apply here. Obviously, it is designed to protect children in mechanically propelled vehicles, in other words cars. However, it will also encourage those people who would be inclined to hop into the car, reach for the cigarette and light up before driving off. The legislation might start to change people's habits and anything that reduces the habit of tobacco consumption is very welcome.

The Irish Cancer Society and many other organisations that work at the coalface of dealing with people who have contracted cancer and other illnesses because of smoking all welcome the legislation. It is generally welcomed across the board. I hope the people will strongly embrace the legislation. Gardaí are obliged to enforce it, but before we enforce it we should have the advertising campaign on it to ensure people are aware of their obligations when in charge of a vehicle with regard to the health of juveniles and children in the car. The Garda Síochána should then be seen to be actively encouraging compliance with the law after a period of time when it is bedded down and people are aware it is on the Statute Book and that it is illegal to smoke in a car containing a person aged 18 or under.

The broader issue we need to consider is that we still have a huge cohort of people who smoke. We are all well aware that we have role models. I return to what I said earlier about girls smoking. In general boys have role models who are normally involved in sport, including soccer and rugby players, and where I come from they are hurlers and footballers as well. They are normally very positive role models.

There is a key area for advocacy groups who advocate on behalf of children to try to ensure that we start to highlight our positive role models. Referring again to girls smoking, we have wonderful sporting individuals, including the Cork ladies footballers, Derval O'Rourke and Sonia O'Sullivan. We have a plethora of them from around the country - many of them happen to be from Cork, but I do not mention it for any parochial reasons. We have a huge cohort of female athletes who could be critical to promoting a culture of healthy living among girls. It is an area where we are falling down at present.

I hope the Minister can, as part of his remit, tap into the huge resources that are out there in order to convey a positive message to young girls about sports, healthy lifestyle and the fact that smoking is not and should not be seen as a way of dealing with other issues.

I commend the Minister on bringing the Bill through the Houses. I hope it will have a positive and meaningful impact on our children's health in the years ahead.

It is proposed that Deputies Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin and Sandra McLellan share time. Is that agreed? Agreed.

Caithfidh mé a rá go bhfuil an-sásamh orm go bhfuil iarrachtaí ar bun le déileáil le fadhb an tobac in Éirinn. Níl rud ar bith níos tábhachtaí ná an tsláinte sa tsaol seo agus sláinte ár bpáistí ach go háirithe. Tá dualgas orainne mar dhaoine a dhéanann dlíthe páistí an náisiúin a chosaint.

This Bill was brought before the Seanad sponsored by Senators John Crown, Jillian van Turnhout and Mark Daly as a Private Members' business proposal in May 2012. It aims to create an offence of smoking in a mechanically propelled vehicle in a public place where a child is present. The initial proposal was to amend the Public Health (Tobacco) Act 2002, before it was decided to introduce a stand-alone piece of legislation. The Bill is the result of work undertaken by a wide group of people and I take the opportunity to commend that collective effort.

In this legislation we have found something we can agree on. The measures it contains might not go far enough, but I am satisfied that it is one of a raft of measures. The Minister, Deputy James Reilly, has been addressing these issues in a very focused way for several years. The provisions he brought forward on the plain packaging of tobacco products were recently brought before the Dáil. In tandem, these two legislative measures will save lives. We have, at the same time, seen an intensification of the fight on behalf of the tobacco lobby, as referred to by the Minister, particularly around the issue of plain packaging. Ministers have received letters from business groups in the United States and there were representations by up to 27 MEPs to the Taoiseach earlier this year urging him to drop the proposal. We, as members of the Opposition and spokespersons on health, have also been lobbied in the same way.

Recent years have seen a move to improve legislation and policy around tobacco control, the aim being to protect those who do not smoke from having to deal with second-hand smoke and help the many smokers who express a desire to quit. Included among the latter is my esteemed colleague, Deputy Billy Kelleher. We have seen the introduction of graphic warnings on cigarette packages and bans on tobacco sponsorship, the sale of cigarettes in packets of ten and confectionary that resembles cigarettes. Ireland was the first country in the world to ban smoking in workplaces. We must remain to the fore in this crusade by continuing to improve protections for the general populous and further aiding those who want to quit.

The aim of achieving a tobacco-free Ireland by 2025 - defined as a smoking prevalence rate of less than 5% - is to be commended. Tobacco Free Ireland proposed legislation similar to this and also supported a social media campaign focusing on the risks to children from passive smoking in cars. I note that Australia, Canada and England have banned or are in the process of banning smoking in cars where children are present. Will the Minister indicate whether electronic cigarettes will be covered by this legislation? While such devices might have a harm reduction role in established smokers, there is evidence that the emissions they produce may pose a danger to others. We must ensure this Bill is robust enough to protect against any future similar tobacco or nicotine product that would create an unhealthy atmosphere in the enclosed space of a car.

Much of the beneficial effect of this Bill will come from the debate surrounding smoking in enclosed places. Indeed, the public has been made aware of this through media reports of the Bill's passage through the Seanad. Forest Éireann, the Irish smokers' rights group, has criticised these proposals and claimed they will have little impact. I do not agree. Even as we discuss them here, we further contribute to public awareness and knowledge of the dangers involved. International studies in developed countries have shown us the extent of children's exposure to smoke in cars. A 2009 Irish study suggested one in seven children in this country is affected by this type of passive smoking. Extrapolating from that suggests that approximately 170,000 children are affected by this issue. It is therefore imperative that we do something to address the situation.

There is also the question of road safety. A driver reaching for a packet of cigarettes and lighter and lighting up while driving, to say nothing of the distraction of having burning tobacco in one's hand, must amount to an unnecessary risk. This Bill will go some way to denormalise this practice and thereby increase road safety for all users.

Colleagues will recall the impact made by Fionn O'Callaghan, the boy from Wexford who wrote to the Taoiseach to ask him to bring forward legislation in this area. In fact, he has been described as the inspiration for this Bill and Senator Crown brought him to the first briefing on the proposals. In remembering Fionn in this instance, we must think of all those children for whom he was a voice - the 170,000 children whose health may be compromised because of this practice.

For such an important Bill and one that has received such wide-ranging support, it is worrying that it has taken so long to come to this House. It really is an indictment of our system that a Bill that is simple in the grand scheme of legislation and which might have a very positive effect should take this length of time to progress. Ireland has been to the fore in limiting the ill effects of tobacco smoking. We were told that the workplace ban on smoking could not and would not work. As we all know, it has worked very well. We were told it was a case of nanny statism. It is nothing of the kind. It is simply a way to protect those who do not wish to smoke from the well documented harms of smoking and help those who wish to quit. In the case of children, we can no longer accept their being subjected to second-hand smoke and all the dangers it entails.

I do not expect these provisions to impose an additional burden on the Garda. For the most part, I expect the public will accept and adhere to them willingly, even before the Bill passes, in the knowledge of the danger such practice poses. Efforts to effect the elimination of tobacco smoking are only one component of a raft of measures that must be introduced to improve the health of our nation. In my role as spokesperson on health and children for Sinn Féin, I am often confronted with a grave lack of resources and many other basic problems surrounding our health services. This is something that needs to be addressed urgently. We must not, however, forget the role of preventative medicine and preventative legislation.

I am sure these provisions will lead to fewer tobacco-related deaths. Arís eile, b'iontach an rud é dá mbeadh Éire chun tosaigh as tíortha an domhain agus reachtaíocht á thabhairt isteach a thabharfadh cosaint dár bpáistí. I join the Minister, Deputy Kelleher and other colleagues yet to speak in recording my wholehearted support for the passage of the Bill through the House.

Sinn Féin supports all initiatives to curb the deadly habit of tobacco smoking. Last week's Bill to introduce plain packaging on tobacco products was welcomed by Sinn Féin and we extend that to the Protection of Children's Health (Tobacco Smoke in Mechanically Propelled Vehicles) Bill 2012.

Ireland is playing a pivotal role in the fight against the tobacco industry. We are striving to create a smoke-free environment for future generations and this legislation will help with that. A child should never be forced to inhale the toxic chemicals emitted by cigarettes when in any closed environment, especially one as constricted as that of a vehicle. It is so harmful and dangerous to the developing lungs of all children, to their health and their well-being. It is unacceptable for anyone to place a child in such a position. Every provision must be put in place in order for us to make smoking as unattractive and unappealing as possible.

The tobacco industry costs this State €1 billion every year. The HSE's budget, already strained by the impact of consistent austerity, must allocate this amount to tackle the effects of smoking on the population. Heart disease, cancer, emphysema and other related conditions can be minimised with the introduction of such measures. We can alleviate the budgetary constraints of the HSE with these measures and the resources could be allocated to other areas of our struggling health system.

We live in an age where there is no excuse for anyone not to be aware of the impact of chemical dosed tobacco. Awareness campaigns by the Government and organisations, such as the Irish Cancer Society and ASH Ireland among many others, have helped in this regard. Recently, we saw the advertisement campaign rolled out by anti-smoking organisation, QUIT, featuring terminally ill Gerry Carroll, who has since tragically passed away as a result of smoking. It was a tragic and untimely death that could have been prevented. We saw the impact on his family and friends and I commend their openness and their willingness to highlight their plight. He has saved lives. We must do the same.

One in every two smokers will die from a smoking-related illness. For every person who dies in this manner, the tobacco industry must replace them with a new customer. The Irish Cancer Society estimates that the industry needs 25 young people to start smoking in Ireland every day to replace those who have tragically passed away or who have, thankfully, managed to quit. Some 80% of smokers start smoking in their youth. With a concerted effort through the smoking ban, the ban on branding on packaging and a ban on smoking in cars with children, this can be stopped. We have a duty, as legislators, to do all that we can to protect vulnerable children.

By designing an environment where children grow up to see smoking as undesirable, we can stop them wanting to take up the habit. We can stop the tobacco industry from gaining new customers. This must continue to be a priority for this and any future Government as well as for opposition parties and Independents. We have a duty of care to citizens and must use the power we have to exercise it.

Attitudes are changing. Smokers must go to greater lengths to feed their addiction. They must leave the social atmosphere of the pub and go outside for a cigarette. They cannot easily light up in a hotel room and soon, I hope, they will not be able to casually smoke in a car with a child present. We must remember, however, that smokers are not to be demonised. Addictions across the board must be understood and helped in any way possible. They are targeted by an extremely powerful, savvy, experienced and cash-rich industry.

We are in the midst of placing as many barriers between the current and possible future consumer and that poisonous industry. I commend everyone involved in the creation of this and previous Bills. Education in schools from a young age can be used to highlight the fatal effects of tobacco. Education designed to target mothers, fathers and guardians must show how passive smoking is just as lethal as first hand inhalation.

A 2013 report published by the Institute of Public Health in Ireland and the TobaccoFree Research Institute Ireland shows that while tobacco control measures are being successful, disadvantaged children are at particular risk of tobacco-related harms. According to the report, this is due to their likelihood of exposure in the womb as well as to second-hand smoke in the home and, ultimately, to their own risk of taking up smoking at a young age.

In the most deprived areas in the North of Ireland, mothers were three times more likely to smoke during pregnancy than in the least deprived areas. In this State, nine year old children living in the lowest income families were twice as likely to be exposed to second-hand smoke in the home as children in the highest income families. As of the time of that report, November 2013, approximately one in seven 13 to 14 year olds reported that someone smokes in the car when they are present. The smoking behaviours of parents have a hugely significant impact on the health and development of children on this island.

Smoking in pregnancy was associated with adverse outcomes for newborn babies, including low birth weight. GP attendances for chest and ear infections among infants were higher among mothers who smoked in the first nine months of their child's life. Among older children, both active smoking and second-hand smoke were significant in terms of patterns of childhood asthma.

The report highlighted the importance of continuing current efforts to make tobacco harder to get and less appealing to young people. Investing in disadvantaged areas to give children social and physical outlets that are protected by the local council and that won't succumb to ruin is important. Children in these areas more likely to smoke. Is it because of a lack of amenities? Is it because smoking is something to do to fill time? Is it a habit to pick up to appear cool among their peer group? We have to further examine the causes and factors as to why those living in lower socio-economic areas are worst impacted by this industry and do everything we can to tackle it.

Smoking is not only damaging to people's health but it also has a very negative impact on the environment. From air pollution, to the decimation of 5 million hectares of forest worldwide, the tobacco industry is relentless. Cigarette butts, in the early years of the 2000s was cause for 48% of litter on the streets. The flushing of this litter into harbours, beaches and rivers is detrimental to marine life. Cigarette butts take more than ten years to break down.

We have already begun the process of eliminating branding from packaging, which is essentially the last method of advertising for the tobacco industry in Ireland. The colours, images, words and designs used on cigarette packs are all used to appeal to young people. Certain colours, such as silver and gold, have been proven to appear as though they have lower tar and health risks. Slim, lightly coloured packets are used to attract young women while bolder colours are used for young men. Cigarettes themselves are also used to appeal to young people. In recent years, slim-line cigarettes have been designed to appeal to young women by making cigarettes appear glamorous and elegant. Research has shown that when cigarettes are in plain packaging without branding, most young people find the packets ugly and boring and would prefer to take home a branded pack. Irish teens begin smoking at one of the earliest ages in Europe. We cannot allow this trend to continue.

Sinn Féin welcomes this Bill. We would not like to see anyone unfairly targeted or criminalised as a result of someone forcefully lighting a cigarette in their car but it is very important that we tackle the issue of smoking in every way possible. A child should never be exposed to the dangers of passive smoking and must be given every opportunity to live healthily in a smoke-free environment. In the same way that mobile telephones are now prohibited to be used in cars, smoking can be a distraction to drivers and there is no real benefit to allowing anyone to smoke in a confined place with a child present.

The purpose of the Bill is to make it an offence to smoke a tobacco product in the presence of a child in a mechanically propelled vehicle, and a child is defined as somebody under 18 years of age. I do not disagree with the substance of the Bill because we all know the dangers to health from smoking, and particularly for those who begin smoking at an early age. We also know about the dangers for those smoking in a confined environment such as a car. The Minister outlined the various illnesses that follow such as pneumonia, bronchitis and ear infections, and he also made the point that children are unable to remove themselves from such a risk. I know many cases where it is the children who are putting pressure on their parents and on the adults in their lives to stop smoking rather than the other way around.

I do not smoke. I was very fortunate never to have started, but people under 18 are legally entitled to smoke. I hope they do not, but what happens in the case of a 17 year old smoking in a car with parents who either smoke or do not smoke?

I question the need for the Bill in the first place. Is there much evidence that this practice is widespread? My perspective, from driving and going about the constituency and other parts of the country, is that in terms of the majority of parents, all the campaigns, health warnings, information and education programmes are working. I believe that adults, in the main, do not smoke in cars with their children.

I note that section 4(5) states that income generated by the payment of amounts pursuant to fixed-charge notices under this Act will be disposed of for the benefit of the Exchequer. I suggest, and I hope the Minister would agree, that any income generated would go to more campaigns to raise awareness and educate people on the dangers of smoking and not put into the Exchequer where it could get lost and not be put to such use.

I listened to other speakers talk about the plain packaging on which I want to make a point also. My colleague, Deputy Finian McGrath, would not be happy but I would be very happy to see a complete ban on smoking, and I support those initiatives that are trying to bring that about. However, retailers with small shops are genuinely concerned that this plain packaging will fuel the illegal trade in cigarettes. We do not know where the illegal cigarettes come from; there is a variety of suggestions in that regard. We have no knowledge of the content, but there has been an increase in illegal cigarettes being sold, and in Dublin Central it is a major concern. We saw the largest ever seizure of illegal tobacco in Ireland. That illegal tobacco trade has to be addressed.

I have a question about e-cigarettes, which are very common these days. I understand, anecdotally, that they appear to be helping people come off cigarettes in terms of the nicotine but we do not know enough about the effects of e-cigarettes and vaping. Is that another issue that has to be addressed in this type of legislation?

On the Garda issue, enforcement is putting further pressure on already over-stretched and under-resourced gardaí. There is now another law they are being told they have to enforce. We are asking the gardaí to police something that should be obvious to parents, and I believe it is obvious. In Dublin Central, we certainly need our gardaí for other work.

The Minister mentioned protecting children from irresponsible adults who would damage their health but we are discussing the wrong Bill when it comes to children under 18. From my involvement in the North Inner City Drugs and Alcohol Task Force, and with the projects working in the city and the city centre, the extent of drug and alcohol use is frightening, and it is beginning at a much younger age. I listen to the frustrations and the concerns of the schools and the youth workers in this regard. Their fear, and it is a reality, is that this problem is not being taken seriously. Those in the youth projects are under strain due to the cumulative effect of cuts they have experienced in recent years. There are far more serious risks to the health of young people than the one we are discussing, namely, them being in a car with their parents who smoke. We have open drug dealing on streets in Dublin. We have open targeting of young people to buy "benzos" and use high-strength cannabis. What is being seen in the city is an increasing number of young people presenting with psychosis.

Another issue of childhood health is the recent report on childhood obesity. One in four are either overweight or obese, and we know that obesity will track them from childhood into adulthood. Also, reports are showing a correlation between childhood obesity and children attending schools in disadvantaged areas.

I attended an event this morning, mindyourmind, at which the Minister of State, Deputy Lynch, was present. The mental health of young people is not being addressed in the same way as this Bill is addressing one issue. We listened to stories from young people of self-harm and depression. We heard success stories also because there were young people who had the courage to go to an adult who would listen in an attentive and sympathetic way, and they found help. Those are the issues facing young people.

I do not object to this Bill. I support it and commend those who have brought it to this Stage, with the support of the Minister and the House, but there are far more pressing issues involving the health of young people. I would like to see legislation dealing with such issues being brought before this House.

I welcome the opportunity to speak about this new legislation, the Protection of Children’s Health (Tobacco Smoke in Mechanically Propelled Vehicles) Bill. I will be giving a minority view but it is a view that should be listened to also. When I first heard of this new legislation, I was annoyed at the intellectual arrogance of some of the anti-smoking brigade. The reason for my anger was because most smokers I know would not dream of smoking in a car with children. In fact, they would not dream of smoking in a car with non-smokers or adults. We do it when we are alone in our cars and when we are in our own space. Most smokers respect the rights of non-smokers, and that has been a fact since the introduction of the smoking ban. We should get that straight first, and the nanny state brigade should give us all a break in this debate.

I often wonder why they all get so high and mighty about ganging up on smokers while they often stuff themselves with alcohol, which is much more dangerous. They should get off the stage and give us all a break. The high moral ground brigade will drive smokers further underground, and that will lead to further isolation. I respect their rights and, therefore, I expect them to respect my rights. It is as simple as that. We also pay our taxes; in fact, smokers pay many taxes to the Exchequer. The Minister should ask the Minister for Finance, Deputy Michael Noonan, about that. I believe the take on every packet of 20 cigarettes is in the region of 76%. We should bury that money argument which I have often heard put forward.

Before they all gang up on smokers, let us get tough on alcohol-related crimes. Who is busting up our accident and emergency departments on a Saturday night? It is not the smoker; it is the violent drunk. I have seen that at first hand in our accident and emergency departments I have attended with senior citizens, friends and family members. The people causing the trouble were either high on drugs or very drunk on alcohol. Those are the issues we must raise. The Minister would find smokers out in the car park, and now they are being shoved out onto the street to have a quiet smoke and mind their own business. Once again, it is the soft targets that are being hit. It is important that we be honest about that, although I accept that is a minority view around this House.

We also have the issue of the illegal sale of illegal cigarettes, which is causing havoc in the State. Not only is it causing violent crime, but it is also results in a major loss to the Exchequer. The Government should wake up, smell the coffee-----

Smell the smoke.

-----and deal with the issue. Cigarettes are being sold illegally throughout this State, costing the Exchequer hundreds of millions of euro. Violent criminal gangs now find it easier to deal in the illegal cigarette trade rather than in cocaine and heroin. That is a reality. The Minister can check that with Customs and Excise officials and the Garda.

That is another issue the Minister should deal with in respect of this debate.

It is a bit rich when people try to give up cigarettes. I speak as a smoker. We try every day. It is an addiction. Bullying or banning us or taking electronic cigarettes out of the system will not work. They were introduced to try to help people give up cigarettes but the Minister started to ban them and now wants to ban them from more public spaces. In some places one cannot even have a smoke in a public park. The Minister needs to learn the lessons of life if he wants people to deal with the health issue. I agree with the sentiments in the legislation because I respect the rights of children and of non-smokers. The Minister needs to find other ways to deal with the issue. Has the Government made a dent in the smoking population over the past ten years? The figures speak for themselves.

I agree with Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan about the drugs crisis. There is a major problem with drugs in this city, the violent crime connected with them, families destroyed by them and gangs intimidating families and whole streets. I would like to see a sensible Government focusing on these issues, not just picking on the easy target, the gentle man or woman who wants to have a quiet smoke and mind his or her business.

This Bill was initiated by Senators Crown, Daly and van Turnhout. Government amendments were accepted on Report Stage. The Bill prohibits smoking in cars where children, those under 18 years of age, are present. It is to protect children from second-hand smoke in cars. I support that. It is sensible. Most of us smokers would do that out of respect for another person or child. There is a small minority who would act arrogantly.

The legislation is to be enforced by An Garda Síochána and the necessary powers required are set out in the Bill. Will gardaí be stopping people at traffic lights or chasing them around for having a smoke in their cars? This is a waste of resources. There are violent criminals and people dealing in dangerous drugs who should be locked up but are on our streets and the Government is going to target smokers. Once again, the Government is focusing on soft targets with silly legislation, silly debates and silly solutions. If a person commits an offence under this Act, he or she shall be served with a fixed-charge notice. The amount of the charge is set out in the regulation. The Bill also includes a presumption of age provision for members of An Garda Síochána, that is, if a garda is of the view that the occupant is under 18 years, this shall be presumed to be a fact unless the contrary is shown. It includes the legal principle of holding the driver liable for smoking occurring in his or her car in the presence of a child, regardless of whether he or she is a smoker.

I have no problem respecting people’s right not to smoke, to be influenced, or have their health affected by smoking. The defences in the Bill are if the driver reasonably believes everyone in the car is 18 years, if the driver is not the person smoking but could not prevent a passenger smoking in order to drive safely, and if the driver, if not the person smoking, made all reasonable efforts to prevent a passenger from smoking.

There are many problems in this country. Do we want gardaí chasing people who are having a quiet cigarette in their car? Do we want them to waste resources when there are other problems they could be dealing with? I am dealing with many serious issues this week in my constituency involving violent criminals and families who are being intimidated. Many of these gangs are up to their necks in drugs. I would like to see the resources of the State targeted on them.

There are other ways to deal with the public health issue. These solutions have been put forward in the debate on smoking. We need to treat this as an addiction problem not by banning smokers or shoving us out in the cold or telling us to stay out in the rain. What really galls me is people in pubs who are well over the alcohol limit lecturing others about having cigarettes. Do they ever look at their own livers or alcohol-related health issues? This is the kind of phoney intellectual arrogance that some people go on with and that we need to challenge. The nanny state brigade must be challenged and told this is an addiction issue. Let us deal with it sensibly as a health problem. Banning electronic cigarettes is appalling. We should help people to get off cigarettes if that is their choice. The legislation labels smokers as irresponsible. Smokers are taxpayers. They respect their own children, their neighbours’ and friends’ children and children generally.

I accept that my view would not be popular but I never set out to be populist on this issue. I give a minority view and any democratic society that does not listen to minority views is going nowhere. The Minister should consider other options for dealing with smoking as a health issue. He should be brave and radical and stop ganging up and beating up on people who are addicted to cigarettes. Many would give their right arm to give up cigarettes and they try to do so every day. Banning them, throwing them out in the rain or stopping them having an electronic cigarette to try to detox is not an acceptable solution. That is not good or sensible health care.

We must focus on bigger, more important issues, such as alcohol and drug abuse and violent crime. The Oireachtas Joint Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality is dealing with gangland crime, drugs and intimidation in communities. We did a great deal of work on this in the summer and will have hearings soon. Some of the people coming to the hearings will tell us about the illegal trade in cigarettes. There is a new subculture among those who were making money from heroin and cocaine and who find it easier to make money from illegal cigarettes. The Exchequer is losing between €500 million and €600 million just when we need the money to invest in other areas.

I support the legislation, despite my views on smokers and the way they are treated, if there is a minority of smokers who do not respect the rights of non-smokers. The Minister should get his Department and the Department of Health to work together to come up with sensible solutions. People will always do things that are outside the box. It may not be healthy or fashionable but that is part of life. If the Minister enjoyed diversity and had a little more tolerance, we would have a healthier society.

I would like to share time with Deputies Harrington and O'Reilly.

Is that agreed? Agreed.

I welcome the opportunity to contribute to this debate. I spoke on another health Bill last week. This legislation will bring us a step further. It follows the commitment made by the previous Minister for Health to introduce legislation to ban smoking in cars. That commitment was made following the debate on the Protection of Children's Health from Tobacco Smoke Bill 2012, which originated as a Private Members' Bill in the Seanad. I am delighted to see that Professor Crown, who introduced that Bill, is present for this evening's debate. He is listening to everyone who has something to contribute to the discussion on the important Bill before the House. When this Bill, which will protect children, is considered alongside the Bill we debated last week - the Public Health (Standardised Packaging of Tobacco) Bill 2014 - it is clear that the Government is committed to tackling smoking.

There is overwhelming evidence that smoking is the single greatest cause of preventable illness and premature death. That is at the core of what we are talking about this evening. Some people have questioned why we are tackling second-hand smoking. In particular, they want to know why we are trying to ban smoking in cars when children are present. All the available evidence suggests that being exposed to second-hand smoke is as bad for one's health as direct smoking. Of course children are particularly at risk. When people smoke cigarettes, not all of the smoke goes into their lungs. It goes into the air and anybody who is near them inhales this smoke. That is why we have banned smoking in the workplace, in bars and in restaurants. We have successfully ensured people can enjoy a smoke-free atmosphere when they are out.

The technical term for second-hand smoke is "environmental tobacco smoke". It has a combination of over 4,000 chemicals, which is a lot of chemicals to inhale. The World Health Organization, WHO, agrees that 250 of those chemicals have been identified as causing cancer. It has classed second-hand smoke as a cancer-causing agent. We have to listen to the experts in this field, particularly the WHO, which has reported that second-hand smoking causes 60,000 premature deaths around the world every year. A 2004 study by the WHO found that two fifths of children and one third of adult non-smokers were exposed to second-hand smoke that year. I would like to put into context the WHO estimate that 1% of worldwide mortality in 2004 was caused by this exposure. As a result of second-hand smoking in 2004, some 379,000 people died from heart disease, some 165,000 people died from respiratory diseases, some 36,900 people from asthma and some 21,400 people died from lung cancer. In other words, approximately 580 people died every day in 2004 as a result of second-hand smoke. We must listen to these statistics. We cannot ignore these figures.

Our children are especially at risk. As they are not as developed as adults, they cannot avoid exposure. The health risks for children are well documented. A report that was published by the Institute of Public Health in Ireland in 2013, A Tobacco-Free Future, contained some interesting findings about children and smoking. I read through the report yesterday and today in advance of my contribution to this debate. I was interested to read that 22% of the primary care-givers of nine year old children reported that smoking occurs in the same room as their child. It was also reported that 15% of people who had a family car allowed smoking in that car. The report found that there is a higher prevalence of asthma among children who are exposed to second-hand smoking. Indeed, it is also associated with severe asthma.

Some people argue that smoking pollutants in cars have no effect, but research suggests otherwise. The findings of research that was carried out in Canada to measure the effect that smoke pollutants have in vehicles are very startling. It was found that just one cigarette smoked in a stationary car with its windows closed can produce a level of second-hand smoke that is 11 times higher than the level found in an average bar where smoking is permitted. In the case of a moving car, the level of second-hand smoke produced by a single cigarette can be as high as seven times the average level of a smoky bar. That is why the Minister is acting on this. The evidence is there.

Other countries have recognised that in-vehicle smoking needs to be tackled because of the risks it poses to children. In February of this year, the Northern Territory was the last of the regions of Australia to introduce a ban on smoking in cars. The cut-off points used in Australia, and the penalties that apply when the smoking ban is breached there, vary across the various jurisdictions. In some regions, the smoking ban applies to minors under the age of 16. In other regions, it applies to minors under the age of 18. The penalties also differ. An on-the-spot fine of A$250 applies in the Australian Capital Territory and court fines of up to A$5,000 can be issued. In New South Wales, an on-the-spot fine of A$250 dollars is imposed on drivers, with a maximum of A$1,100 applying if this is disputed. When the Minister is summing up at the end of this debate, he might indicate if he has details or views on the level of fines that may be imposed here. In particular, I would like to know whether a fixed-charge fine will apply here. If so, will it be similar to the fixed-charge fines that are charged under the Roads Acts? The Minister might clarify that.

We do not need to go to Australia to find examples of what is being done in this area. Across the Irish Sea, a ban on in-vehicle smoking has been introduced by the authorities in Wales, who were acting on research undertaken by Cardiff University suggesting that one in ten children in Wales were being exposed to smoke in family cars. In England, a section of the Children and Families Act 2014, which was passed by the Parliament, empowers the Government there to bring in regulations to introduce smoke-free child-carrying cars. In July, the British Government sought views on draft regulations. It will be interesting to see whether this ban will be in place before next year's general election in the UK. Other countries that are set to follow Ireland's example include Finland, the Netherlands and Taiwan. It is unusual that the Netherlands is planning to introduce a ban, given that it has such a liberal regime.

Under section 3 of the Bill, An Garda Síochána will have responsibility for the enforcement of the ban when an offence is committed. The Bill also introduces a number of defences which are set out in section 5. One of the main reasons given in England in opposition to the introduction of a ban of this type was that it would be unenforceable. When the workplace smoking ban was introduced here, opponents made similar claims. That is why I disagree with what the previous speaker, Deputy Finian McGrath, had to say. It is all about compliance. Since the smoke-free legislation was introduced here some years ago, the compliance level has been 97%. A similar compliance level applies to the legislation governing the display of cigarettes in shops. I disagree with Deputy McGrath's opinion on this aspect of the matter.

Countries like Australia that have been to the forefront in the battle against tobacco have made similar findings. When smoke-free dining was introduced in Australia, a compliance rate of 96% was reported after 18 months. It is important to point out that smoking laws are generally self-enforcing. Smokers refrain from smoking in smoke-free areas once they become aware of the laws. That is why the Minister has introduced this legislation, on which I commend him. It is important to get the message out there. We must keep telling people how dangerous a threat smoking is to their health and that of their children.

Various campaign advertisements are very effective. One of the best anti-smoking campaigns in recent times was the HSE series of advertisements featuring Gerry Collins, who died at the age of 57. We all remember how he said he would miss his kids, and miss not being there when they might need him. Those were striking and heartbreaking words to hear from a man who was dying of cancer and was campaigning for others to kick the habit which had left him with lung cancer. The HSE believes his adverts have helped 60,000 people to attempt to give up cigarettes this year. His family and friends should be very proud of him. We are proud of him as well. Effective awareness campaigns have helped to change attitudes towards smoking. It has now become very anti-social to smoke. This shift in attitudes to smoking will ensure the latest smoking ban succeeds. It will become very anti-social to smoke while children are in cars. Those who persist with this activity will be frowned upon by the general public. I do not doubt that over time, we will achieve the same level of compliance we achieved with the introduction of the various other bans. I commend the Minister on bringing this good legislation, which will save people's lives, to the House.

I congratulate the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs and commend Senators Crown, van Turnhout and Daly on their work in the Seanad and, latterly, this House in introducing this legislation. It is the duty of the Oireachtas to introduce and debate legislation that has a considerable benefit for certain sectors of our population. This Bill undoubtedly falls into that category.

The Bill's Title is self-explanatory, in that its main provision is to stop young people and children from having their health damaged by inhaling second-hand tobacco smoke in the confined area of cars. It might also break the link between young people watching adults, in many instances their parents, and smoking. It is a popular and well-received Bill.

In a recent UK study, 1,100 people were asked whether they would support a ban on smoking in cars carrying young people. Of these, 96% of non-smokers would support the ban. Interestingly, 89% of the smokers surveyed would also support the ban. They added that it might also help them to give up smoking.

This is not a question of a nanny state introducing legislation, as "nanny state" automatically implies that people have a choice. Children who are strapped into the back of a car and who must inhale second-hand tobacco smoke have no choice. Something must intervene, namely, the State.

It is no secret that tobacco companies target younger people to replace the customers and clients who either give up smoking or, as a result of smoking, pass away. They spend a great deal of time and resources on trying to get young people onto the conveyor belt so as to maintain the industry. I take this opportunity to ask the Minister to consider Florida's very effective truth campaign. Its leaders had a fund of tens of millions of dollars, if not more, following a settlement with the tobacco companies. They diverted much of that money into an effective marketing campaign, some of the results of which were interesting. It should be noted.

Reference has been made to the HSE's public health and information campaigns. When targeting campaigns towards young people, a number of curious points have been missed. The young are well educated and already know that smoking damages their health and kills, but they still take up the habit. The study concluded that they did this so as to become individuals or to show bravado, leadership or standing among their peers and communities despite the fact or, counter-intuitively, because they knew it was dangerous. It was like a counter-culture movement and people found smoking an easy and acceptable way of becoming noticed, involved, different and so on.

The authorities in Florida adopted a different approach. They noticed that young people did not want to be told that they should not smoke because it killed. It was a negative message and young people already knew it. Instead, the authorities had to reinvent or replace a role model - the idea of smoking - with something else. The truth campaign targeted young people and met them on a one-to-one basis by way of attending events, working through the media, spending a great deal of money on channels like MTV and being more nuanced overall so that young people would get the message that smoking needed to be replaced. It was not just enough to say that tobacco was bad, would kill or would harm people's health. It needed to be replaced with something else.

I urge the Minister and his officials to consider this campaign. We do not need to spend the amount of money that Florida did. It has already done the research and examined youth culture and the counter-culture pursued by certain groups of young people. The conclusions might differ from those we might naturally reach. We do not need to reinvent the wheel. A modest investment using the excise and VAT moneys we accrue from the tobacco industry could be spent on a more nuanced or effective marketing campaign. It would not be an information campaign, as young people already know the story. Rather, it would be a campaign to replace something that young people feel is necessary. The truth campaign aimed to make anti-smoking a brand in itself and was quite effective.

Will the Minister consider a further aspect? Since the Bill does not cover e-cigarettes, will he make provision to allow for a similar prohibition on the use of e-cigarettes? We are not sure about the health issues involved, but e-cigarettes might cause difficulties for the enforcement of this legislation. I support the prohibition of e-cigarettes where there are children in a car.

I commend the Minister and Senators on their work and ask the former to consider what has been done elsewhere, particularly in Florida. Such campaigns are well worth his consideration where they relate to young people.

I join in congratulating and commending Senators van Turnhout, Crown and Daly on their efforts. I also commend the Minister on laying this legislation before the House. He is particularly passionate about this issue, his passion arising from his experience as a general practitioner, GP. It is great that he is using this opportunity as a politician to address what he knows from general practice to be a major social and health issue.

There has been a significant cultural shift in terms of smoking and - not to mix up the two - drink driving since my childhood. Smoking is no longer cool in the way it was then. The smoking ban has been a critical factor in that regard and I commend Deputy Martin, who piloted it. The plain packaging legislation is also contributing to the cultural shift.

Speaking in the Seanad, the Minister stated that we wanted to arrive at a situation in which people did not find smoking attractive. By a raft of legislative initiatives, advertisements, etc., we are arriving at that. Professor Luke Clancy's study on passive smoking in cars merits reference in the context of this legislation. According to it, one in seven schoolchildren is exposed to smoking in cars. Those who are exposed are more likely to start smoking, leading to respiratory and allergic symptoms.

It is well known that cigarette smoke is highly carcinogenic, with second hand or environmental smoke equally so. Every year in Ireland, 6,000 people die from tobacco-related diseases. The inhalation of passive smoke exposes an individual to the same amount of smoke as a smoker.

If one is a smoker, one will lose ten to 15 years of one's average lifespan and 95% of lung cancer cases in Ireland are caused either by smoking or inhaling second-hand smoke. These are very stark figures. There are many who would maintain this legislation is a way in which the rights of adults and the choices they wish to make in life can be restricted and impinged upon. This simply is not the case. This legislation is about protecting those members of society who are too young to have a voice. Noble person and fine individual that he is, Deputy Finian McGrath has stated that he, of course, would not smoke in front of children in a car. This will remain the case for the great bulk of adults. The great majority of adults would not contemplate so doing in the first place and, consequently, the issue does not arise. Moreover, the legislation will create a greater consciousness, whereby the ultimate number of offenders will be very low. The purpose is to further create a consciousness in this regard.

As the Minister, Deputy Reilly, mentioned in the Seanad, there is no safe level of exposure to environmental or second-hand tobacco smoke and the danger levels are increased in enclosed spaces such as inside a car. With this in mind, it is important to ensure that parents who smoke do not expose their children to this carcinogenic substance. The 2013 policy document, Tobacco Free Ireland, makes the point that children are particularly vulnerable to the marketing practices of the tobacco industry and that the positive portrayal of smoking by models and in other forms of advertising glamorises smoking and makes it more attractive to children. These issues are all being tackled in the plain packaging legislation.

Section 2 of the Bill sets out clearly that smoking in a car with a child present is strictly prohibited and that the person in question will be deemed guilty of an offence. I welcome this part of the Bill, as evidence shows that such exposure is dangerous. A study by the Canadian Medical Association stated there is some evidence to suggest that second-hand smoke inhaled in the confines of a car is 23 times more toxic than when inhaled anywhere else. Similarly, MRBI research for ASH Ireland showed a popular acceptance of this point. On the legislation, I acknowledge there are issues as to how one identifies age, how one identifies children and so on. However, Members are aware that an individual garda will apply common sense in this regard. One also realises that the very existence of the legislation will create a moral imperative not to smoke in front of children by which most normal adults will feel obliged to abide. If one likes, they will not see it as an issue with which to play cops and robbers.

Sections 3 and 4 deal with the power bestowed on An Garda Síochána under the legislation. It gives members of the force the power to issue a fixed charge notice, which will be in line with the standard fixed charge notice system in the Road Traffic Acts, and in extreme situations can lead to a fine of €1,000 in the District Court. In the debate in the Seanad, Senator Crown made the point that the primary benefit will be educational and I concur that this will be the case. People have come a long way in terms of their awareness. First, popular awareness among the population regarding the dangers of smoking and its obvious harmful effects has become universal. Second, there is an acceptance that something must be done about it and all the legislation is combining to alter the culture and to reinforce the need to tackle it. This legislation does something similar.

I welcome the legislation and do not perceive it as being indicative of a nanny state. A nanny state might be a state in which children were exposed to something about which they had neither freedom nor rights. I will conclude on this point but sadly in recent years, Members have been dealing a lot in this House with situations in which the rights of children were infringed and let us not perpetuate that. I welcome this legislation. I am aware of its imperfections and of its implementation difficulties but the balance of good lies in its enactment and on that basis, I support it. I again congratulate the Minister on having the non-partisanship and professionalism to accept the legislation rather than to go back into the ridiculous trenches from which Members tend to address legislative matters.

I call Deputy Catherine Byrne, who is sharing time with Deputy Mitchell O'Connor. The Deputy has ten minutes.

I welcome the opportunity to speak on this Bill and I commend Senator Crown, who is present this evening, as well as Senators Daly and van Turnhout on originally introducing this Bill in the Seanad. On Report Stage, this Bill was amended substantially by the Minister, Deputy Reilly. The Department of Health worked in consultation with the Senators, the Office of the Attorney General, the Departments of Justice and Equality and Transport, Tourism and Sport and the Garda Síochána in producing this legislation. I congratulate the Minister, Deputy Reilly, on his Trojan work on this issue, about which he is passionate. He is committed to addressing smoking and smoking-related disease and deaths in this country. This Bill is another significant development in our public health policy, which aims to make Ireland a tobacco-free society by 2025. This legislation is one of the many recommendations set out in the policy, Tobacco Free Ireland, which includes a range of legislative and other policy initiatives designed to reduce smoking and smoking-related illnesses. Approximately 22% of the Irish population are currently smokers and the Government is committed to reducing this figure to 5% by 2025. This Bill builds on the smoking ban, which was introduced in March 2004. It was hugely successful and there has been a 7% reduction in the number of smokers since it was introduced.

Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in Ireland. The number of premature deaths caused by tobacco use in Ireland is far greater than the combined death toll from car accidents, fires, heroin and cocain abuse, murders and suicide. I was interested to hear Deputy Finian McGrath state earlier that there are greater health risks. I do not know what they are when approximately 5,200 Irish people die each year from diseases caused by smoking and 44% of such deaths are from cancer. Members should just imagine that one in two smokers will die from their addiction. Smoking costs the health sector in excess of €650 million per year. What could be done with that money, were it available to be put back into the health services in the fields I have just mentioned? These figures are frightening when one thinks how avoidable are these smoking-related deaths. I am deeply concerned that Ireland's smokers start smoking at a young age. They have the youngest starting age in Europe, as they start from between 14 and 16 years of age. Members' goal, therefore, must be to prevent children and young people from starting to smoke. They learn from us, their parents and adults to whom they look up and we must lead by example.

Passive smoking can be just as damaging to one's health as smoking. This is why I am so supportive of this Bill. It is about protecting children and safeguarding their health. This Bill will create a new offence of smoking in a vehicle in a public place in which a child is present. Basically, it will be against the law to endanger children's health by smoking in cars. An Garda Síochána will be responsible for enforcement and can impose a fixed-charge notice or fine. I agree this legislation will be "self-policing" in many cases and that members of the public will abide by this new law and indeed will encourage others to so do also. Most parents are sensible and prioritise and protect their children's health. However, there are some who continue to put their own addiction ahead of the health of their children and that is why this legislation is necessary. An increasing number of countries, including Canada, Australia and, most recently, England, have either banned or are in the process of banning smoking in cars with children. A clear message must be sent out on this issue. Members are not trying to be heavy-handed but are merely trying to alert people to the very real dangers of smoking and passive smoking.

I also take this opportunity to welcome the standardised packaging of tobacco legislation, which was debated in this Chamber last week. The passing of that Bill will see Ireland become the first country in the European Union to introduce legislation on plain packaging and the third country worldwide after Australia and New Zealand.

I was pleased to hear the Minister, Deputy Reilly, welcome the announcement by the French Minister for Health last week that France plans to follow Ireland and introduce standardised packaging for cigarettes. This is a positive move and we should be proud that we are leading other countries in protecting people, especially the young and the old, from the dangers of smoking through the introduction of standardised packaging. Research by the Irish Heart Foundation and Irish Cancer Society has shown that the visibility of graphic warnings on plain packs would encourage teenage smokers to quit smoking.

Sadly, when it comes to smoking, especially for young people, it is all about image. According to the Irish Cancer Society, eight in ten smokers begin smoking before they turn 18 years of age. The tobacco industry sees packaging as its key marketing tool, which is why it is very important to introduce plain packaging and put an end to the so-called glamourisation associated with smoking, especially for young people who believe it is cool to smoke. Plain packaging has been shown to reduce the appeal of tobacco to young people and to increase negative feelings towards tobacco.

Together, both these items of legislation will go a long way towards helping Ireland to become a tobacco free society, and I commend this Bill to the House. I say to parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles to put their children first and not their addiction. That is the message that should go out from this debate.

I am delighted that another step is being taken towards making Ireland a tobacco-free place. It beggars belief that less than one generation ago many people went around smoking in the workplace, did not wear seatbelts and even drove under the influence of alcohol. Thankfully, all of these practices have been addressed over the years. Today, no one would even dare smoke in the office, not wear a seatbelt or drink and drive unless he or she was stupid. That is because of two developments. It has become morally unacceptable and it is a punishable offence. This Bill will have the same positive lasting impact.

I welcome the strong disincentive to smoke in a car in the presence of children by making it a punishable offence with a fine of up €1,000. Unfortunately, the very fact that exposing children to second-hand tobacco will increase their chances of developing illnesses such as pneumonia, bronchitis, middle ear infections and even cancer is not enough of a reason for some people to stop smoking in a car. The risk of being liable to pay a fine of up to €1,000 will undoubtedly make those people think twice. We have been protecting workers since the introduction of the workplace smoking ban in 2004 but not children, which seems bizarre. I am therefore delighted that this Bill will finally correct that anomaly. It will quickly make the idea of smoking in a car in the presence of a child simply wrong. It will become socially and morally unacceptable. We see it already with the smoking ban. If anyone dared to smoke in an indoor public space, they would be immediately stared at, made feel uncomfortable and most likely asked to stop. This is because it is no longer an accepted society norm. When we go abroad to countries that do not have a smoking ban, the first complaint we have is how unenjoyable our evening was because of the unwelcome suffocating feeling of smoke in the restaurant or bar. Anybody who sees an adult smoking in a car in the presence of a child will take immediate offence and make it very clear to the individuals concerned that a law is being broken and that a child is being harmed. It is very important that this forms part of an overall approach to a tobacco free Ireland.

As Senator van Turnhout stated, we must denormalise smoking. I am confident that in the long term this Bill will be very positive for the country just as the smoking ban was. I am hopeful that prosecutions will eventually not even be necessary. Children and parents will be aware of it and people will understand that this is something they should not do. The society norm will be not to smoke in a car rather than vice versa. Adults will become responsible and recognise that they are putting helpless young lives at risk. Children cannot protect themselves from this risk and, therefore, we, the Government, must do so.

I am not naive enough to believe that this legislation will not encounter stumbling blocks. The tobacco industry continues to flex its muscles over the plain packaging Bill, on which I and other health committee members have worked. The plain packaging Bill has faced strong opposition not only from within Ireland, but from the US, the UK and anywhere a tobacco giant is based. The tobacco industry has rafts of lawyers poring over everything we do and say, looking to find weakness in law and a rationale for a challenge. Let me say loud and clear to the tobacco industry that this country will not be bullied by it. We, as elected representatives, have a duty of care to the Irish people. We are not for turning on the plain packaging Bill.

This Government will protect the health of the Irish people. We will take on the tobacco industry and fight it in the courts, if necessary. The tobacco industry needs to back off. The simple fact is that tobacco is the only product we know of that, when used as directed by the manufacturer, kills one in two of those who use it regularly.

I fervently hope that this Bill moves through the Dáil and the Seanad quickly and does not encounter delays as a result of the money-hungry, health-ignorant tobacco industry. I commend my colleague, Senator John Crown, an eminent oncologist, who is here listening to the debate. I also know that Senators van Turnhout and Daly and the Minister have put a great deal of work into fighting the tobacco industry and making sure that we protect our children and the Irish people.

The next speaker is Deputy Bannon and he is sharing his time with Deputies Walsh and Fitzpatrick.

I welcome the Minister, Deputy Reilly, to the House. I take this opportunity to congratulate the initiative of Senators Crown, Van Turnhout and Daly on having put forward this Bill. I am also delighted that Senator Crown is here listening to this debate. As a former member of Seanad Éireann, the progression of this Bill is a clear testament to the significance and value of the Seanad to the legislative process, post the referendum.

Since the introduction of the workplace smoking ban in March 2004, there has been much greater awareness around the dangers of smoking and second-hand smoke. Tobacco smoke is a mixture of gases and particles. It contains more than 7,000 chemical compounds. More than 250 of these chemicals are known to be harmful and at least 69 are known to cause cancer. Children are particularly at risk from the effects of second-hand smoke. Their bodies are still growing, they breathe at a faster rate than adults and they are also less able to avoid or reject it. Breathing second-hand smoke can cause young children serious illness and will increase the chances of them experiencing health problems in the future.

Many Deputies have already outlined the various illnesses that can be caused by second-hand smoke and the likes of lung disease, pneumonia and deafness in children are the most destructive. The greatest step smokers can take to improve their health is to stop smoking. Almost 1 million people in Ireland smoke on a regular basis. The Minister outlined that 5,200 people die from smoking each year. That is 5,200 families, friends and communities who are affected by smoking. I can only imagine the number of people affected by second-hand smoke.

It is known that one in every two smokers will die from a tobacco-related illnesses and it is also clear that anyone who smokes reduces his or her life expectancy by up to 15 years, even having stopped for some time. While health professionals try to address patients' smoking habits on a daily basis, the individual must take the final decision to quit. The more smokers engage with health professionals, the more awareness about the dangers of second-hand smoke will add to their realising and understanding the dangers smoking poses to themselves and everyone around them. I am delighted when people returning from hospital say the first question the surgeon or specialist asked was whether they smoked. People have been told they owed their lives to the fact that they did not smoke. There is a lesson in this for everybody.

I welcome the legislation, which will play its part in improving the health and well-being of the Irish population. I have already outlined the threats children are under from the effects of second-hand smoke. The Bill will protect children and work towards reducing the possibility of children suffering from serious diseases as a result of being exposed to second-hand smoke. There is no safe level of exposure to second-hand smoke. Exposure to cigarette smoke is particularly dangerous in enclosed spaces, such as cars. Adults have a duty and a responsibility for the welfare of children and this must extend to not exposing them to the dangers of second-hand smoke.

The Bill includes the legal principle of holding a driver liable for smoking occurring in his or her car in the presence of a child, regardless of whether he or she is the smoker. It is very important that defences have been put in place in the Bill for the driver, for example, that the driver made all reasonable efforts to prevent the passenger from smoking. However, I have doubts, for example, if two adults and a child are in a car, the adult passenger in the car is smoking and, as a result, the car is pulled over by a member of the Garda Síochána. How can the driver prove that he or she made all reasonable efforts to prevent the passenger from smoking? I do not see how it can be proven and there is much ambiguity around the issue. It could be the driver's word against that of the passenger. I would like clarity on how the driver can prove he or she did everything possible to stop the passenger smoking.

While we talk about the dangers of second-hand smoke and work towards reducing it in legislation, we do nothing to lead by example here in the Houses of the Oireachtas. Visitors, staff and members are greeted each day by smokers standing outside the front doors of Leinster House and Leinster House 2000. It is foolish of us to sit here and legislate for the people of Ireland on second-hand smoke when we cannot even control it right here on our doorstep. The ashtrays should be removed from outside the doors of the Houses of the Oireachtas. If people want to smoke, they should get outside the gates of Leinster House to do so.

I am pleased to have an opportunity to speak on the Bill. This is the second time in two weeks I have been here to support the Minister, Deputy Reilly's legislation on discouraging people from smoking. Last week, we discussed his legislation on plain packaging. This Bill represents another milestone in the Government's tobacco control campaign, much of which has been led and inspired by the Minister. His public health endeavours will form a formidable and lasting legacy. As I said here last week, many in this House were economical in their praise of the Minister in his previous portfolio. However, even his most ardent detractors must applaud the determined efforts that have brought us to this stage in the fight against tobacco. Other protagonists also warrant praise for their contribution to progress in this area. Senators Crown, van Turnhout and Daly are to be commended on initiating this legislation. Senator Crown in particular has been iconic in his efforts to highlight and combat the dangers of smoking. His advocacy, action and expertise in this area have been very important in stimulating and informing debate on the subject within and outside the Oireachtas.

Tobacco control legislation that comes before the Houses is often met with dissent from a tiny minority of Members who view such provisions as an attack on smokers' rights, and we saw an example of this earlier in this evening's debate. Deputy Finian McGrath is usually left fuming in such scenarios and decries the persecution of smokers as if it were the prevailing civil rights issue of our generation. However, I hope Deputy Finian McGrath will see through the smoke on this Bill because it seeks to protect children from health risks arising not from choices they make, but from choices others make.

As many have already said this evening, second-hand smoke is toxic and carcinogenic and, in children, is recognised as a risk factor in a host of illnesses, predominantly respiratory illnesses such as asthma, bronchitis and pneumonia. In the confines of a car, second-hand smoke is concentrated and inescapable. It is right that people should be protected from having to spend time in such an environment and it defies reason that children should have to be ferried around in mobile smoke chambers. The Bill is most welcome and is a natural continuation of the Government's efforts to denormalise smoking and protect people from the ill effects.

I have no serious concerns regarding the legislation, only one observation. Over the past year in particular there have been moves to impose a smoke-free campus policy on many of our public hospitals. While it is difficult to argue with such a decision in principle, there is a problem in that it is not being enforced. I visited a hospital in Galway on several occasions during recent months and hospital doorways are still populated by patients who have nipped out for a quick cigarette. The smoking ban on hospital grounds is not being enforced, and it is easy to see why. For example, in the case of psychiatric patients, whose mental health must take priority over their physical condition, a sudden smoking ban could do more harm than good. In the case of terminally ill or immobile patients, it seems punitive to send them on a pilgrimage to the front gate of a hospital to smoke. Perhaps the allocation of outdoor smoking areas on the grounds of hospitals was an adequate provision.

It is a complex issue and I do not pretend to have all the answers. Although it was a good idea by the hospitals and the HSE, we should not make rules which we do not intend to enforce. To do so to do so could undermine rules we introduce in other areas. A lax approach to tobacco control in this instance could have implications for compliance with tobacco controls in other areas. I do not envisage such problems in the case of this Bill. I am pleased and reassured that the Garda Síochána will be tasked with enforcing the provisions of this law and that under the legislation they will be in a position to issue fixed-charge notices.

The Bill is a welcome step towards a smoke-free future. I congratulate the Minister, and the Senators I mentioned, in promoting this legislation.

The Protection of Children's Health (Tobacco Smoke in Mechanically Propelled Vehicles) Bill 2012 is to prohibit smoking in cars where children are present. It will be enforced by the Garda Síochána.

The Bill stems from a growing range of legislative and other policy initiatives designed to reduce smoking and smoking-related illness over previous decades. Some of the key legislative and policy initiatives to date have been the establishment in 1997 of the Quitline service to support smokers in giving up, the ban on tobacco sponsorship in 2000, the raising of the age limit to 18 years at which a person can be sold tobacco products, which was introduced in 2001, the introduction of the workplace smoking ban in 2004, the ban on the sale of cigarettes in packets of ten and the ban on confectionary which resembles tobacco products in 2007, the ban on the advertising and display of tobacco products in retail outlets in 2009, the introduction in 2009 of registration requirements for retailers wishing to sell tobacco products, the introduction of graphic warnings on cigarette packets in 2013, and the publication of Tobacco Free Ireland in October 2013.

The aim of Tobacco Free Ireland is to reduce the harm caused by tobacco use, to make Ireland tobacco-free by 2025, to undertake a social marketing campaign focusing on the risks to children from exposure to second-hand smoke, with particular reference to smoking in cars, and to develop and introduce legislation prohibiting smoking in cars where children are present, based on international evidence and good practice.

Since the introduction of the workplace smoking ban in March 2004 and other tobacco control measures, there is a greater awareness of the risks of smoking and exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke. It is recognised that smoking in cars exposes all the occupants to harmful second-hand smoke. Second-hand smoke is a carcinogen and contains the same cancer-causing substances and toxic agents that are inhaled by the smoker. There is no safe level of exposure to second-hand smoke.

Exposure to cigarette smoke is particularly dangerous in enclosed spaces, such as cars, and parents and others with responsibility for the welfare of children have a particular responsibility to ensure such exposure does not take place. Exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke is a recognised risk factor in the development of asthmatic symptoms in children, and increases the risk of other illnesses, such as pneumonia, bronchitis and middle ear infection.

A child is defined in the Bill as any person under the age of 18. It specifies that a person who smokes a tobacco product in a vehicle in which a child is present shall be guilty of an offence. This also applies in situations where the smoker is under the age of 18 years and is in the presence of another child. Where this offence is committed by someone who is not the driver, the driver shall also be guilty of an offence.

The Bill also contains defence provisions. A defence exists where the person smoking reasonably believed that the others present in the vehicle were over the age of 18. There are also defences for the driver. One defence is that the driver was unable to stop the other person from smoking because he or she did not wish to take any action which might compromise the safety of the passengers.

An Garda Síochána will have powers under this Bill. Where a member of the Garda believes that a person is smoking in a vehicle with a child present, he or she may ask the driver to stop the car and take the name and address of any person who may be committing an offence. Where a person fails to stop the car or to give his or her name and address or provides false information, he or she shall be guilty of an offence. A person who is guilty of an offence under the Bill shall be liable on summary conviction to a class D fine. A class D fine is currently a fine not exceeding €1,000. That means the person will be prosecuted in the District Court.

It is difficult to assess precisely how many children will be affected by the proposed measure, as this depends on the number of smokers who smoke in cars with children, and there are no precise data on this. The total number of licensed vehicles on 31 December 2013 was 2,482,557, of which 1,910,165 were private cars. While all these are potentially affected, clearly not all will be directly affected.

Census 2011 recorded 1,148,687 children at or under the age of 17 years. It also collected data on the commute to primary and secondary school. A total of 296,711 students aged between five and 12 years travelled to school by car in April 2011, accounting for 61% of all students within that age category. Primary school children who were driven to their place of education had an average journey time of 12 minutes in the towns and cities, and nine minutes in rural locations. At second level, of 126,172 students, approximately 40% travelled as car passenger, and an additional 6,339 pupils, or 2%, drove to school.

I commend the Minister, Deputy Reilly, on the Bill. I also thank Senators Crown, van Turnhout and Daly for their contribution towards the Bill. Just because I am a non-smoker does not mean I am anti-smoker. People themselves realise the amount of damage that smoking can do. I myself have experience of this as my father died at the age of 71 after being diagnosed with lung cancer.

I commend the Bill to the House and I wish the Minister the best.

I acknowledge the presence of Senator Crown, one of the three Senators who promoted this Bill in the Seanad. I am pleased as Minister for Children and Youth Affairs to see so many young people in the Gallery because this Bill very much relates to an area that affects them.

This is about smoking in cars where children are present and it has received a lot of attention over the past year. The Bill has contributed to a welcome focus on smoking and the damage tobacco does. If we wish to change our lifestyle behaviours successfully, mobilising public awareness on any issue is an important step. To those who complain that this Bill is about the nanny state, I say let us be clear on one point: this Bill is not about restricting the rights of smokers but about protecting the health of children. Children's exposure to second-hand smoke in cars is involuntary. They have nowhere to go. They may not be aware of the dangers of exposure to this smoke and they are not able to remove themselves from that risk if people smoke around them.

There needs to be a greater awareness among adults of the risks of smoking and exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke. As previous speakers have said, second-hand smoke is every bit as carcinogenic as what the smoker inhales. It contains the same cancer-causing substances and toxic agents that are inhaled by the smoker. There is no safe level of exposure to this smoke. It is obvious that exposure to cigarette smoke is especially dangerous in enclosed spaces, such as cars. Compared with adults, children breathe more rapidly and have a less developed immune system. They are more susceptible to the effects of second-hand smoke.

Parents and others with responsibility for the welfare of children have a particular obligation to ensure such exposure does not take place. While I am in no doubt that all parents, relatives and carers want to protect the health of the children in their care, sometimes the onus is on us, the policy and law-makers, to remind them of their obligations in this regard. We all have a duty to protect children from exposure to smoke. The introduction of this legislation is a way of reminding those who care about the welfare of their children not to light up in a car when children are present. It will also serve as a punitive measure for those who knowingly continue to disregard the welfare of children.

A number of other countries have introduced similar legislation. The countries tackling the problem of second-hand smoke in cars include Australia, Canada, some states in the USA, Cyprus and France. The United Kingdom is in the process of introducing such legislation and no doubt many other countries will follow suit.

While numerous pieces of research have been carried out in other jurisdictions, only one relevant piece of research has been carried out in Ireland. The TobaccoFree Research Institute Ireland has conducted research to estimate the prevalence of second-hand smoke exposure in cars in Ireland. The research, which covered almost 3,000 children aged 13 to 14 years indicated that 14.9% of children were exposed to smoking in cars.

As Minister for Children and Youth Affairs I have a particular interest in the welfare of children and, as such, I am pleased to be in a position to bring the Bill through the legislative process in the Dáil. I again thank Senators Crown, van Turnhout and Daly, and all other parties involved in bringing the Bill to this point, including the Department of Justice and Equality and the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport. I thank the Garda Síochána in particular for its ready acceptance of its key role in the implementation of the legislation.

I wish to comment on some of the contributions. Deputy Billy Kelleher spoke about the use of youth organisations to spread the message on the legislation and on other issues. When we spoke about the plain packaging Bill last week I mentioned that I had visited youth organisations in Ballinasloe and Loughrea in particular that had won an award for a poster, which conveyed in a much better way than adults could to people their own age the message on the dangers of smoking. We will certainly engage in such an approach.

Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan spoke about the extra work for the Garda. The reality of the legislation is that it will in the main be self-policed. In other words, when people are sitting in traffic and see an adult smoking in a car with a child present they will take action. The opprobrium and peer pressure that will descend on people who will ignore the law will mean there will be very few convictions because people will not break the law. I commend the Garda on its willingness to become involved.

Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan also suggested that the money raised in fines should go to the campaign. However, the Exchequer tends to take all moneys raised from other fines and we then distribute them. I fully acknowledge her point, echoed by other Members, on alcohol and drugs being equally problematic. It was never the case of one or the other. We must tackle all those problems.

Deputy Finian McGrath’s contribution was interesting. On the one hand he supports the Bill and the principle behind it, but on the other hand he attacks us for being a nanny state and he challenges us to leave smokers alone and stop bullying them. He referred to the problems of illegal cigarettes and violent criminal groups. I wish to make it clear, as I have done in every speech I have made on the subject: we are anti-smoking, not anti-smoker. We will do our best to support smokers in every way we can. My colleague, the Minister for Health has done that also and I have no doubt he will continue to do so. The Department is very supportive of smokers and helping them to quit.

The most important point is that one should never start smoking because it is so hard to quit smoking. I have seen patients in chest wards going out to the toilet with the oxygen cylinder on their back to have a cigarette, putting themselves and the whole ward at risk of an explosion. That is how desperately addictive smoking is. My own brother, who was a doctor and public health specialist, an epidemiologist, could not stop smoking and it killed him at the age of 60. The trick is not to start. We must protect children from ever starting and that is what the plain packaging law is about. In this Bill, we are not picking on smokers; we want to support smokers, but we must protect children. It is not a nanny state issue. It is about the right of children to a safe environment. There is no question of bullying the smoker.

The old chestnut of illegal cigarettes is again one of the industry’s ploys. We know that 90% of illegal cigarettes are contraband, that is, they are the cigarettes of the tobacco companies produced elsewhere and smuggled in illegally. Less than 10% of illegal cigarettes are counterfeit cigarettes.

When we are drawing up the regulations we will examine the higher fines to which Deputy Breen referred that are in Australia and other jurisdictions. I too wish to be associated with his comments about the very brave, late Gerry Collins, who made the advertisements, and to commend him and his family for showing such bravery and generosity and no doubt saving many other families from similar hardship in the future. Deputy Harrington spoke about young people in Florida and the truth campaign. We will have a look at that.

The debate on e-cigarettes is for another day because the evidence does not exist in the same way as it does for tobacco. Deputies Catherine Byrne, Mary Mitchell O’Connor and Joe O’Reilly all spoke in support of the Bill. Deputy James Bannon spoke about cigarette smoking around the House. That is a debate for another day as well.

I thank Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick for his support also. I thank all Deputies and parties on this side of the House and in the Opposition for their support on this important legislation. I also thank the Senators for initiating the Bill in the Seanad and for their support on many other initiatives on smoking such as the plain packaging Bill and trying to protect children from starting to smoke. I commend the Bill to the House.

Question put and agreed to.