Smoking ban set for cars carrying children
In England and Wales, from 1 October 2015 it will be illegal to smoke in a private vehicle containing under-18s and to fail to prevent smoking in a private vehicle carrying someone aged under 18.
The new law is being introduced following a prolonged campaign by children’s health experts and by health organisations such as the British Medical Association. The penalties for both offences would be a fixed penalty notice of £50, or a fine on conviction should the case go to court.
Public health minister Jane Ellison stated: “second-hand smoke is a real threat to children’s health, and we want them to grow up free from the risks of smoking. The only effective way to protect children is to prevent them breathing second-hand smoke and our plans to stop smoking in cars carrying children will help us to do this.”
BMA Board of Science chair Baroness Sheila Hollins said: “The BMA strongly supports a ban on smoking in cars when children are present, as it is an important step in reducing tobacco harm by restricting the prevalence of second hand smoke in private vehicles.
“Children are still developing physically and biologically and, compared to adults, they breathe more rapidly, absorb more pollutants and have less-developed immune systems. As a result, they are more susceptible to the harmful effects of second-hand smoke and are less likely to be able to choose to move away from it.”
“The Government is taking a sledgehammer to crack a nut. The overwhelming majority of smokers know smoking in a car with children is inconsiderate and they don’t do it.
“The regulations are unnecessary and excessive. Do we really want to criminalise people for lighting a cigarette in a private vehicle?”
Similar changes to the law have been proposed for both Scotland.