Smoking ban for cars due October 2015

smokingFrom October 2015 it will be illegal to smoke in cars with children present under the biggest crackdown on smoking from the Government since the introduction of the 2007 ban on smoking in public places.

The Department of Health (DoH) said the tighter regulations laid before Parliament to make private vehicles carrying under-18s smoke-free were formulated with the aim to “protect young people from the serious health harms of smoked tobacco”.

The new plans will result in a fixed fine of £50 being given to people who smoke, or those who fail to prevent others from lighting up within private vehicles also carrying children.

Early in the New Year there will be a vote on the subject, involving both MPs and peers. Following this, there will be a period of three weeks for them to thoroughly assess the proposals put forth by the Department of Health.

This appears to be a formality though following a majority approval by MPs earlier in the year. Back in February MPs voted 376 to 107 – a majority of 269 – in favour of the ban, first suggested by Labour as an amendment to the children and families bill. The majority vote even eclipsed that which resulted in the smoking ban from July 2007, forbidding smoking in areas such as pubs, restaurants and nightclubs.

Most of the country could be behind the ban according to a YouGov poll for the anti-smoking group Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), which discovered that 77% of adults – including 64% of those who actually smoke – were behind the plans to make it illegal to light up in cars carrying anyone under the age of 18.

The legislation would criminalise smoking from parents, carers or other adults in a car where there is anyone present under 18. According to the British Lung Foundation, there are about 430,000 children that are exposed to second-hand smoke each week in a family car.

Dr Penny Woods, the charity’s chief executive, raved about the Government’s plans, saying she was “delighted” by the proposals.

She said: “We are now closer than ever to helping protect the hundreds of thousands of children exposed to dangerous concentrations of second-hand smoke in cars every week.”

ASH were also happy with the plans to ban smoking in cars with children, but said the legislation should go one step further and stretch to a blanket ban which would also comprise of adults in vehicles too.

ASH chief executive Deborah Arnott said: “We are delighted that the Government is to press ahead with regulations to prohibit smoking in cars containing children.

“As with the smoke-free public places law, this is a popular measure that will largely be self-enforcing. However, second-hand smoke is just as harmful to adults as children and it makes it more difficult to enforce if it only applies to some cars, not all. Seatbelt laws don’t just apply to children, why should smoke-free car laws?”

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