It is recognised that smoking in cars exposes all the occupants to harmful environmental tobacco smoke (ETS). ETS 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 ETS.
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 that such exposure does not take place.
The Government gave approval to the drafting of amendments to a Private Member's Bill entitled "Protection of Children's Health from Tobacco Smoke Bill 2012". The purpose of the Bill is to prohibit smoking in cars where children are present. As I indicated in the Seanad a number of amendments are required to ensure that the Bill operates as an effective piece of legislation. A number of meetings have been held with my Department, the Senators involved in the Bill, officials from the Department of Justice and Equality and representatives of an Garda Síochána in order to agree proposed amendments. The Department of Health is now working with the Office of the Attorney General to draft the necessary amendments to the Bill to provide for the enactment of this legislation.