Smoking in cars with children not allowed from Sunday
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New legislation comes force making it illegal to smoke in private cars in the presence of children under 16 years of age, as of the coming Sunday, the 1st of January 2017.
This legislative measure protects children and young people from the damaging effects of secondhand smoke. Children are at particular risk from the effects of passive smoking because they have an increased risk of developing chest infections during their first five years.
Babies who are exposed to cigarette smoke are also at a greater risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), which is also known as cot death. As well as making children more vulnerable to ear infections, such as otitis media, passive smoking makes children more likely to develop asthma.
Levels of toxins from smoking in cars can reach high counts very quickly.
The Government said that this ban will apply to all tobacco products including e-cigarettes. The driver of the car will always be held responsible and is liable to a fine of €50. Any passenger caught smoking in a car in the presence of minors will also be liable to a fine of €50.
In Malta smoking was already restricted in all enclosed public spaces in April 2004. It was one of the first EU states to ban smoking in bars and restaurants. This new legislation will continue to build on the drive to protect the public from secondhand smoke.
As part of its remit to promote a smoke-free society, the Health Promotion and Disease Directorate in collaboration with the Primary Health Care Department provides free one-to-one counselling services for persons who want to quit smoking.
These sessions are available every Wednesday evening at the Floriana and Mosta Health Centres from 5:00pm to 7:00pm.
For further information, please contact the Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Directorate on 23266000 or call the quitline on 80073333.
Further information on enforcement can be obtained from the Environmental Health Directorate on 21322306 or 21337333.
Log onto www.tobaccofree.gov.mt for more details on the legislation and the tobacco free campaign
Photograph: DOI/Jeremy Wonnacott