Ban on smoking in cars will be passed into law within weeks and come into force in October 2015
In an historic vote in February 2014, Tory and Lib Dem MPs backed plans to make it illegal to light up in a car in England, punishable by a fine or points on a motorist’s licence. It came after Prime Minister David Cameron the ’time has come’ for a ban, brushing aside claims from his Lib Dem deputy Nick Clegg who branded the ban illiberal and unenforceable. Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has since been consulting on the detail of the law changes, which will be made under provisions in the Children and Families Act.
Smoking in cars causes harm in several ways
Firstly, there is the harm to the smoker from inhaling tobacco smoke. Secondly, there is harm to other occupants of the vehicle from inhaling secondhand smoke. Thirdly, there is the potential harm that children will perceive smoking to be normal adult behaviour. Fourthly, there is potential harm to the driver, passengers and other road users from the driver’s temporary loss of control of the vehicle when lighting or extinguishing a cigarette.
Smoking in cars
- Smoke can stay in the air for up to two and a half hours even with a window open.
- Exposure has been strongly linked to chest infections, asthma, ear problems and cot death in children.
- Research indicates 300,000 children in the UK visit a GP each year because of the effects of second-hand smoke, with 9,500 going to hospital.
- Smoking in a car creates a higher concentration of toxins than in a bar, some research has put it at 11 times higher.
- Bans on smoking in cars when children are present already exist in some US states, including California, as well as in parts of Canada and Australia.
Second-hand smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals, some of which are known to cause cancer.
A fine of £50 will be issued to people who smoke or who fail to prevent another person smoking.
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