Northern Ireland - 9 of 10 households would welcome a ban on smoking in cars with children present..

December 1, 2010 - Nine out of 10 households across Northern Ireland would welcome a ban on smoking in cars with children on board, new research has found. Action Cancer estimates up to 13,500 children across the province could be at risk.
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland (click on map upper right), it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west. At the time of the 2001 UK Census, its population was 1,685,000, constituting about 30% of the island's total population and about 3% of the population of the United Kingdom. (Northern Ireland)
Health Minister Michael McGimpsey and the Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael McBride have both ruled out a ban on smoking in cars with children on board in the past. But Action Cancer, which commissioned the research, said the findings show huge public support for the move. Geraldine Kerr of Action Cancer said: “Children are one of the most vulnerable groups affected by passive smoking. “The effect of second-hand smoke on a child’s metabolism can be attributed to doubling the risk of sudden infant death, wheezing and meningitis. “In a confined environment such as a car, smoking just one cigarette can put air quality into the unhealthy category. That same cigarette will emit 50 times more fine particles into a car than those emitted by the car’s exhaust.”
Supporting information: Every parent wants their children to lead healthy and happy lives. There's an abundance of evidence that children are more susceptible to the negative effects of second-hand smoke (ETS, environmental tobacco smoke, involuntary smoking, sidestream smoke, passive smoking).

As pointed out by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) Australia in a February 2009 paper the evidence of second-hand smoke harm to children in enclose spaces is extensive and irrefutable. A 2004 survey of over 1300 Australians in 800 households showed over 90 percent (including 73 percent of smokers) support banning smoking in cars carrying children. A Harvard School of Public Health report indicated that secondhand smoke in cars can be up to 10 times more of a health risk than secondhand smoke in a home.

Vehicles have been found to be the most dangerous space for second-hand smoke levels. Kids exposed to smoke are at higher risk since they breathe in more air by weight than adults. Both the respiratory rate and heart rate are higher in children below the age of 13 than in adults. The younger the child, the greater the potential for exposure. Since the lungs of children are still developing, exposure to second-hand smoke can lead to ear infections, asthma, bronchopneumonia and other illnesses.

Comments from prominent physicians: Just about every physician in the United Kingdom insists that smoking should be banned in cars when a child is present.

Wales - Chief Medical Officer Dr. Tony Jewell we must protect children from second-hand smoke, especially in cars..;

Professor Steve Field, chairman of the Royal College of General Practitioners (GPs), has has stated, parents that smoke in front of their children at home at in cars are "committing a form of child abuse." Professor Field, represents 42,000 GPs across the United Kingdom (UK). (United Kingdom - head GP physician calls smoking in front of children "child abuse"..);

Twenty of Britain’s most senior doctors call today for a ban on smoking in cars as part of a sweeping expansion of laws to protect children against the effects of inhaling smoke. (Senior British Doctors demand banning smoking in vehicles when children are present...)

Comment from Philip Morris: David Sutton, a spokesman for Philip Morris USA said the company believes the public "should be guided by the conclusions of public health officials regarding the health effects of secondhand smoke" and "particular care should be exercised where children are concerned."
A spokeswoman from the Northern Ireland's Department of Health said: “The Action Cancer campaign will help to further highlight the dangers of second-hand tobacco smoke to children and young people travelling in private cars. “Increasing awareness of the harm caused by second-hand smoke, particularly to children, is very important in encouraging parents and other adults to make their homes and private vehicles completely smoke-free.”

Reference: Northern Ireland backs smoking ban for cars carrying children by Lisa Smyth, Belfast Telegraph, 11/30/2010.