A charity has urged Northern Ireland MPs to back a ban on smoking in cars with children present.
The issue is due to be voted on in Westminster on Monday.
Any ban would only affect England but the head of Northern Ireland Chest, Heart and Stroke said he hoped any legislation would galvanise Stormont’s assembly into action.
Chief executive Andrew Dougal said: “The research damns those who cause such harm to the developing lungs of innocent children.
“Many of these children are unable to speak and those who can may be afraid to do so.”
He said nicotine was as addictive as heroin.
“We are very aware of the lengths to which such addicts will go to get a fix,” he added.
“In the same way, totally governed by addiction, parents will harm their own children.”
He warned: “It is essential that Northern Ireland children are afforded the same protection as those in England.”