New laws to ban smoking in cars with children passengers have come into force in England and Wales today (October 1 2015). The new rules apply to any driver or passenger in any “enclosed vehicle” when a child under the age of 18 is on board.
Anybody caught breaking the law is subject to a £50 fine. It will also be an offence for a driver, including a provisional driver, not to stop one of their passengers smoking in a private vehicle if there’s a minor present.
Figures show currently in England more than 430,000 children aged 11 to 15 are exposed to second-hand smoke in cars every week, and a similar law already exists in some states in America, as well as in Australia, Canada and a few European countries.
Read on for answers to your key questions on the new ban on smoking in cars with kids...
If you’re driving a convertible with the roof fully down, you needn’t worry – the law only applies to private vehicles enclosed wholly or partly by a roof. That means that having a sunroof or window open won’t cut any ice with police if you’re caught smoking with kids on board. Partially convertible models like the Porsche 911 Targa or the Fiat 500C are also likely to land you on the wrong side of the law, while having the air-conditioning on or sitting in an open doorway aren’t get-out clauses from the new legislation, either.
The law in the UK is a little odd in that you can’t legally buy cigarettes until you’re 18 but it’s actually legal to smoke them when you’re 16. With that in mind, if you’re a 17-year-old with a provisional licence or have recently passed your test, the new smoking in cars law doesn’t ban you from smoking in your own presence. The law does kick in if you’ve got passengers who are under 18, of course.
No. The rules don’t apply to e-cigarettes, but smoking them in enclosed spaces is controversial with Wales having banned their use in public buildings.
Will the ban on smoking in cars with children affect you? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below...