Jonas Hamers

Flemish ban on smoking in cars with children: heavy fines put forward

The Flemish government has imposed a general ban on smoking in cars with children (until 16 years of age). Heavy fines will be imposed on those caught red-handed. "Smoking in cars is very bad for children's health", the government argues.

"When you smoke inside the car, concentrations of carcinogenic substances in the air are up to 25 times higher than when you smoke in the house", says the Flemish Environment Minister Joke Schauvliege. "Opening the car window is absolutely not enough to let these toxic substances escape. Children are very sensitive for smoke, since their lungs are still developing." 

Passive smoking makes children more susceptible to lung infections, but also meningitis, chronic bronchitis and even otitis. "Medical experts share a broad consensus on this", explains the Flemish Health Minister Jo Vandeurzen. "It also enhances the risk of cardiovascular diseases later on." 

The organisation for the battle against cancer is happy with the decision - the new law comes into force almost immediately - but police are wandering how those flouting the rules will be caught. "There is almost no other option than catching people red-handed."

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