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Doctors welcome car smoking ban

Law to be put in place by October 2015

Jo Carlowe

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Doctors and other health professionals have welcomed new regulations to ban smoking in cars containing children. 

The new law, laid before Parliament yesterday, will be voted on before the General Election and put in place from October 1, 2015.

The regulation prohibits smoking in cars containing children under 18. A fine of £50 will be issued to those breaking the ban. 

In Parliament, the primary legislation was approved on a free vote, held in February, by a majority of 376 to 107. 

Commenting, Professor Sheila Hollins, BMA board of science chair, 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.  

“Adults who smoke in the presence of children are not acting in the children’s best interest; therefore it is encouraging that the government has brought forward these regulations in order to protect them.”

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) also welcomed the regulations.

Dr Peter Carter, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the RCN, said: “Smoking in cars when there are child passengers present can be immensely harmful. Children have a right to breathe clean air and protecting children’s health should be prioritised.

“These regulations are a positive step forward as banning smoking in cars would be of great benefit to many children and young people.

“Nurses witness first-hand the devastating effects that smoking can have on people’s lives. Smoking still causes a huge number of unnecessary deaths every year in the UK and depletes the health service of significant resources.

“More must be done to tackle this major public health challenge and the Government now needs to commit to requiring cigarettes and other tobacco products to be sold in plain packaging, which would make cigarettes less appealing to children and help encourage smokers to quit.”

A ban on smoking in cars has also been put forward in Scotland and Wales. Northern Ireland said it was considering a ban.

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