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Following a six-week consultation first announced in July, the ban was launched yesterday in a bid to protect under-18s from second-hand smoke.
The proposed legislation will also see motorists face points on their licence if caught smoking in a car with children present from the start of 2015. Depending on public response, the use of e-cigarettes in cars with children could also be banned.
First Minister Carwyn Jones said: “Children and young people have the right to breathe clean air and enjoy smoke-free environments.
“Protecting children from exposure to second-hand smoke will help give them the best start in life.”
Despite the new regulations applying solely to Wales, the Welsh Government has said it is in touch with the Department of Health in England to “co-ordinate approaches” on the issue.
Research carried out at Cardiff University has suggested that one in ten children in Wales continue to be exposed to smoke in family cars.
Chris Mulholland, head of British Lung Foundation Wales said: “We’re pleased to see the policy high on the agenda at the start of the new assembly term, and we look forward to the ban coming in to force as soon as possible.”
Elen de Lacy, chief executive of Action on Smoking & Health (ASH) Wales, welcomed the consultation.
“Concentrations of smoke inside a car can reach dangerous levels very quickly and exposure to second-hand smoke is a substantial threat to children’s health.
“Laws stopping smoking in cars with children are popular with the public and we urge the government to bring them into force without further delay.”
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