Health minister calls for broader smoking ban

Lorenzin says smoking leading cause of death in Europe

Health minister calls for broader smoking ban

Rome, August 14 - Smoking is a killer that should set off alarm bells in society, especially where children and youngsters are concerned, Health Minister Beatrice Lorenzin said Wednesday. In an open letter addressed to all Italian parliamentarians, Lorenzin said there must be greater efforts to fight smoking and to prevent young people from taking up the habit in the first place. "I ask you to support, inside and out of Parliament", the anti-smoking cause, she said. Smoking in public and work places that are indoors is against the law in Italy. But a proposed new bill would ban smoking, both of traditional and electronic cigarettes, in outdoor areas at schools, such as their gardens, car parks, court yards and playgrounds. It would also ban smoking in cars in which pregnant women and children are travelling. Statistics are making it brutally clear that young people are becoming addicted at early ages, suggesting they are not dissuaded by the current anti-smoking campaigns, said Lorenzin in her letter. Instead, families need to train children to turn from smoking in the same way the learn that the rules of the road – such as red stop lights – must be obeyed, said the minister. With smoking killing 750,000 Europeans each year, the leading cause of death in Europe, faster and broader action is essential, said Lorenzin. Still, some have fought against her proposed ban on smoking in cars with children and pregnant women because it is allegedly an attack on personal freedom, she noted. Instead, her initiative should be viewed as providing children freedom from poison, said Lorenzin.

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