Person smoking in a car
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A Sydney mother is calling on the NSW government to issue a total ban on smoking around children, labelling it as child abuse.

Nina Belle said she was driving along Old Northern Road in Castle Hill when she saw three adults smoking alongside a toddler in a pram, with the smoke "blowing in the poor child's face".

Left in an absolute rage by what she saw, the young mum started a petition, calling on the state government to take action.

She is calling on those parents who do smoke around their children to be fined and given "ample education and support to quit, including counselling".

"I believe exposing babies and children to ongoing passive smoke is a form of child abuse. This view might sound outrageous, but it's not," Ms Belle wrote in her petition.

Comment: There isn't much (if any) real scientific evidence for second-hand smoking causing any health issues.

"We intervene when children are neglected due to alcohol or drug addictions, and we should intervene when children are exposed to ongoing second-hand smoke.

Ms Belle said in instances where children suffer health effects as a result of their parents' smoking, they should be moved to a "safer living environment".

"If you choose to smoke, and harm your own health, that is your own decision. But to expose an innocent child, that is not right," she added.

"I know this issue is more prevalent in disadvantaged communities, but it is still happening everywhere and it's 2017."

Herald Sun columnist Rita Panahi told Sunrise she understood the concern but questioned whether further smoking bans was a viable solution.

"It's still a legal activity... you've got to allow them to do it somewhere," Ms Panahi said.

"I do think most parents do the right thing, they do go outside and they try not to smoke in a child's face."

Since July 2009, smoking in a car with a child under the age of 16 has been illegal in Australia.

A $250 on-the-spot fine applies to the driver and any passenger who breaks the law.

Whether that ban becomes applicable outside of vehicles remains to be seen.