Until now, Polish law did not prohibit drivers from smoking while driving. The only provision defining this issue is Art. 63 par. 5 of the Road Traffic Act, stating that: “The driver of the motor vehicle transporting a person is forbidden to smoke or eat food while driving. This does not apply to the driver of a lorry transporting a person in the driver’s cabin and to the driver of a passenger car, except for a taxi. ” It more or less means that only drivers who transport passengers by bus, taxi, motorcycle or moped are prohibited from smoking.
Recently, the Minister of Health has received a draft amendment to the act specifying a ban on smoking cigarettes and electronic cigarettes by a driver who transports a child under 18 in a passenger car. Drivers committing this act are to be punished with an appropriate fine. Similar law has been in force for a long time in other countries, such as Italy, France, Great Britain, Cyprus, Australia and a large part of the United States and Canada.
Originators say the new rules could help protect children from the harmful effects of cigarette smoke. About 30% of Poles smoke cigarettes, thus exposing people in their environment, especially children, to passive smoking. A passive smoker inhales with the smoke about 3,000 carcinogenic substances, which not only increase the risk of lung cancer, but also contribute to the impairment of the immune system, increase the risk of respiratory infections and promote the development of allergies.
Particularly dramatic effects may be the inhalation of cigarette smoke by children, because the effects of this, in the form of, for example, weaker respiratory efficiency, will be visible in such a person throughout their life. Even if the person who is such a passive smoker has never smoked cigarettes himself, in the future it may turn out that he got sick due to the passive inhalation of cigarette smoke.
This is just an idea sent to the ministry so far, and the experts’ voices are divided. Some of them believe that fining drivers who risk the life and health of a child by smoking cigarettes with a fine is right and may contribute to reducing the scale of this type of behavior. However, there is a group of opponents who believe that it would be more valuable to make Poles aware of the effects that such behavior may have.
But is the Polish community not too indifferent to this type of pro-health campaigns? It is enough to look at whether anything has changed in the issue of the Poles’ approach to smoking after placing drastic pictures on cigarette packets of the effects of smoking. The issue is debatable.