To protect children, regulations on smoking in private vehicles and on products for inhaling nicotine will be introduced on February 1, 2022. To raise awareness and encourage support for the new regulations, the health department is running two separate mass media campaigns.
From February 1st, smoking in private vehicles in the presence of children is prohibited if there is more than one person in the vehicle and the vehicle is closed. It is a criminal offense to smoke in such a vehicle and it is also a criminal offense if a driver does not stop smoking. In addition, from February 1st it is a criminal offense to sell nicotine inhalation products to children and to buy or acquire such products on behalf of a child (representation offense).
Smoking is the leading single cause of preventable disease and premature death in Northern Ireland, killing thousands of people each year. Secondhand smoke is harmful to the health of others, especially children, who breathe faster and inhale more pollutants per kilogram of body weight than adults.
Nicotine is highly addictive and according to the World Health Organization (WHO) exposure to nicotine in adolescence can lead to long-term effects on brain development. In addition to the potential long-term health effects of e-cigarette use by teenagers, there are also concerns that they could serve as a gateway to smoking.
The campaign to regulate smoking in private vehicles aims to raise awareness of the new smoke-free (private vehicle) regulations (Northern Ireland), which have been introduced to protect children and young people from harmful passive smoking in an enclosed environment. The campaign highlights that there are no safe levels of secondhand smoke and that children are particularly at risk.
The campaign to regulate nicotine inhalation products aims to Raise awareness of Nicotine Inhalation Regulations (Age of Sale and Proxy Purchase) (Northern Ireland), which are in place to protect children and adolescents from the harmful effects of nicotine.
Both campaigns include radio, outdoor and digital advertising, including social media. The campaign to regulate smoking in private vehicles also includes TV advertising.
All campaign signposts too nidirect.gov.uk/articles/Smoking-and-vaping-regulations-northern-ireland For more information.
Please help raise awareness of the new regulations and encourage support by sharing the assets listed below through your own communication channels.