Ulster Unionist Health spokesperson, Roy Beggs MLA has called on the Health Minister to bring forward legislation to ban smoking in cars carrying children after it was revealed that levels of childhood asthma in the UK have fallen since the introduction of the smoking ban in enclosed public spaces.
The East Antrim MLA said:
“It is very encouraging to learn that there has been a significant drop in the amount of children being admitted to hospital because of their asthma since the ban on smoking in enclosed public spaces came into effect.”
“The evidence is indisputable; young people are particularly vulnerable to exposure of second hand smoke, much more so than adults. Children’s bodies are still developing, and exposure to the poisons at this stage puts them at risk of severe respiratory diseases. Exposure is also known to cause asthma, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), bronchitis, pneumonia, middle ear infection and a raft of other health problems. Children who are exposed to smoke from an early age are also statistically much more likely to smoke themselves later in life.’
“The Ulster Unionist Party has long lobbied for smoking to be banned in cars which are carrying children. I think that in light of these figures, the Health Minister must urgently look to bring forward this legislation. The positive effect that would have on the health of local children is too big to let slip from our grasp.’