Alliance Health spokesperson Paula Bradshaw MLA has said the Assembly cannot constantly be playing catch-up with other jurisdictions, after new regulations came into force making it illegal to smoke in a car with children.
The move brings Northern Ireland into line with other regions of the UK and Ireland, with further legislation also banning the sale of e-cigarettes to those under 18.
“I am pleased these measures will finally be coming into force today. It is something I have been campaigning for, alongside our local charities, since becoming an MLA,” said Ms Bradshaw.
“This ban in private vehicles will help to safeguard children from dangerous second-hand smoke that puts them at a higher risk of breathing problems, asthma and allergies. By coupling this with a prohibition on the sale of e-cigarettes to under-18s, young people are further protected and hindered from developing a reliance on nicotine in the first instance.
“However, that said, small legislative changes like these should not take years to be realised and if devolution is to work, the Assembly cannot constantly be playing catch-up with other jurisdictions on these islands. We need to take more opportunities to take the lead on preventative health policy.”