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Wallonia set to ban smoking in cars with children

05:06 21/11/2017

Wallonia will this week vote on a law banning drivers from smoking in their car when children are onboard.

The ban already exists in France and the UK and is expected to be passed by the Walloon parliament on Thursday.

The region's environment minister Carlo Di Antonion said: "When you smoke in a car, the pollutant levels are extreme. In the presence of children, it is especially harmful. I think that most people understand that - but we want to go further and ban it."

The law would take effect at the end of 2018 and drivers would face a €150 on-the-spot fine if caught.

According to a recent survey, 90 percent of smokers agree that it is wrong to smoke in cars in the presence of young children. The exposure to smoke increases the risk of respiratory infections and asthma.

Anti-smoking groups have been campaigning for years for the issue of passive smoking in cars to be debated in the federal parliament. Pierre Bizel, a spokesman for the Belgian national anti-smoking coalition, said: "In a confined space like a car, toxin levels are 40 times higher than outside and 27 times greater than in a house."

A 2013 study in the scientific publication Tobacco Control Journal found opening a window or turning on the air conditioning had no effect on the pollution levels inside the car.