Ministry wants to ban smoking in cars with minors
The Estonian Ministry of Social Affairs has prepared an amendment which would, among other things, ban the smoking of both tobacco products and electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, in a car with a minor riding in it.
"The intention of the ban is to protect children and minors from the harmful effects of tobacco smoke and e-cigarette vapors, as studies have shown that levels of passively-inhaled [second-hand] smoke may be particularly high in cars, even higher than in homes, considering the limited space in which the smoke spreads," read the amendment's explanatory note.
The ban will apply to the use of e-cigarettes as well, as the ministry is relying on studies that show that e-cigarette use also emits harmful substances as well as fine particles into the air.
The ban will not apply to motor vehicles with open or partially open roofs.
Those who disregard the ban can expect either a verbal warning or a fine. Only the driver of the vehicle will face punishment, however, regardless of whether it was the driver or another passenger smoking or using an e-cigarette, as the driver is responsible for the passengers riding in their vehicle. The fine is 100 fine units in size, which at current size puts the fine at 400 euros.
The law is scheduled to take effect in general procedure, meaning that once it has completed its rounds of coordination, it must be approved by the government as well as the Riigikogu for it to enter into force.