Government wants to ban smoking in cars with children

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health 7.4.2016 13.48
Press release 43/2016

The Government has issued a proposal to supplement its proposal for a Tobacco Act submitted to Parliament in February. This proposal would ban smoking in cars with children under the age of 15. The smoking ban would reduce children's exposure to tobacco smoke and associated damaging health effects.

The ban would not apply to the living quarters in vehicles, such as camper vans.

The smoking ban would be monitored by municipalities, which could be informed about such cases by, for example, municipal child welfare authorities. The supplementary government proposal is in line with the aim of the Tobacco Act to promote smoke-free lifestyles among young people. Smoking in cars would not, however, be punishable.

Smoking in cars was last proposed to be included in the Tobacco Act in 2009. At the time, the parliamentary Constitutional Law Committee considered that the proposal was against the provisions of the Finnish Constitution as regards personal liberty, privacy and the sanctity of the home. Since then, several parties have proposed that smoking be banned in cars with children.  According to research, exposure to tobacco smoke is harmful to children's arteries and exposes children to cardiovascular diseases. Tobacco smoke in cars makes children susceptible to respiratory symptoms, such as asthma, allergic flues and bronchitis.
 
The new Tobacco Act is due to come into force on 20 May 2016. Finland and the other EU countries will enforce the EU Tobacco Products Directive on that day at the latest. Part of the proposed changes to the Act are based on Finland's own consideration and legislative needs.

The current Tobacco Act is from 1976 and it has been amended for dozens of times since then. The Tobacco Act reform aims to discourage people from starting to use tobacco products and becoming nicotine dependent, and also to support people to giving up the use tobacco products. The aim is also to protect non-smoking people from exposure to tobacco smoke.

Inquiries

Laura Terho, Lawyer,  tel. +358 295 163 550, [email protected]
Meri Paavola, Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 295 163,343, [email protected]
Kari Paaso, Director, tel. +358 295 163,340, [email protected]