Responding to resounding majority support from the public, the Minister for Health and Social Services has announced she will be bringing forward a proposition to prevent smoking in cars carrying children.
The proposition concerns changes to the Restriction on Smoking (Jersey) Law 1973 to prevent smoking in cars carrying children under 18, and follows a consultation exercise, held in 2013, which sought the views of Islanders. Following this review, and taking into account the public response to the 2013 Jersey Annual Social Survey, Deputy Anne Pryke has said she is confident she has the support of the Island in introducing measures to protect children from second-hand smoke.
The public consultation findings, published last month, highlight that almost eight out of 10 people (76%) said they would support a law in Jersey to stop smoking in cars carrying children under 18. The 2013 Jersey Annual Social Survey, designed statistically to reach conclusions representative of Islanders as a whole, indicated that 81% would support such a ban, with 66% of smokers also in support.
Deputy Pryke said: “This is about protecting our children and the health of our islanders in the future, and this evidence shows the majority of Islanders support that commitment.
“I am a mother and a grandmother and I am acutely aware of the responsibilities I have to ensure the health and welfare of our future generations. I have listened to the opinions of Islanders, and I am delighted they concur with my views that our young children should be protected in this important way.
“I consider it my duty to protect Jersey’s children from the harms of second-hand smoke, particularly in cars, and to fulfil my commitment I will be bringing forward an amendment to the law to the States Assembly in the very near future.”
Dr Susan Turnbull, Medical Officer of Health said:
“I was pleased at the consistent results from the 2013 consultation, together with those from the Jersey Annual Social Survey, pointing to what the people of Jersey, including smokers, expect to be done to protect children who may still be exposed to toxic levels of smoke in cars.
“I am equally pleased that, in our small and responsive democracy, it should be possible to achieve the necessary changes to the law relatively swiftly, and to start protecting more children at the earliest possible opportunity.”
In line with the Minister’s plans to bring forward a proposed amendment to the Law, the Public Health Department will also be working to develop targeted health messages on the dangers of second-hand smoke, as well as responding to other results of analysis of the 2013 consultation.