Parents should be banned from smoking at home and in their cars to protect the health of their children, a Government health leader has announced.
Chief Medical Officer for Wales, Dr Tony Jewell, said that stopping people smoking in their own homes would protect children from the dangers of passive smoking, which include increased risks of asthma and respiratory problems, middle ear infections and cot death.
Smokers 'know that smoking is a dangerous habit, but choose to ignore the facts,' he declared.
Dr Jewell said it was unfair for children to have to ' bear the brunt of other people's habits', adding that 'as a society, creating such a measure is a powerful statement of intent about our commitment to the health of our children.'
He believes that if the Welsh assembly government extended the ban on smoking to private cars and encouraged smoke-free policies in homes where children lived, it would help discourage children from taking up smoking themselves in later life, and may also help some adults quit.
Other health experts agree with Dr Jewell. Earlier this year, a top paediatrician from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health also called for a ban on smoking in cars carrying children.
But critics and opponents believe a ban would be a breach of an individual's right to privacy. And the Tobacco Manufacturer's Association have said that Dr Jewell's proposals are 'a step too far and an unwarranted intrusion on the individual freedom.'
A spokesman from the association said: 'In private vehicles, adults should be free to smoke, provided they do not light up or smoke in a way that would distract from safe driving.'
And speaking on BBC Radio Wales, Julie Barrett, director of the Chartered Institute for Environmental Health in Wales, said; 'Any legislation that tried to control the way people behaved in their own homes would be deeply, deeply despised.'
We've covered smoking and children in previous articles.
I smoked when I was pregnant - one mum's confession
What do you think?
Would it be a step too far to ban smoking in the privacy of your own home or car?
Or the right step for the future health of children?
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