UK smoking ban: smoking in cars with kids illegal from October 1st

1 Oct, 2015 5:00am Joe Finnerty

The UK ban on smoking in cars with children present applies from today. Here's everything you need to know...

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.

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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...

Will the smoking ban extend to convertible cars?

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.

How does the smoking ban work with 17-year-old drivers?

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.

Are e-cigarettes included in the ban on smoking in cars?

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...

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Good, about time. Whats the difference between this and my pouring 1/4 pint down the throat of my child every time i have a beer.

We shouldnt be forcing our children to have possible life changing issues when they have no say.

As my point above im sure my boy would have been taken off me by now if I was sharing my pint with him, so why not parents that share their stinking carcinogenic smoke with theirs.

People should not be allowed to smoke whilst driving - end of.

Better still if you want to smoke in the car, leave the kids at home or use the little rubber thing and don't have kids at all.

I'd go further and say if you're carrying passengers of ANY age you shouldn't be permitted. I'd hate to be stuck in a car with someone smoking.

Sounds good to me. Unfortunately we need laws like this as, sadly, there are so many stupid people who will light up with no thought towards anyone else in the vehicle.

Like most laws, this will change the behaviour of people because everyone now knows that it is something that society "frowns" on, and, whatever people say, most people (not all!) don't want to be seen to behave badly. It will be hard to enforce but just the existence of the law will help to reduce children's exposure to cigarette smoke.

Remove the lighter from all cars and make them smart so they can detect smoke and shut down. Could do the same with alcahol.

Whilst I agree it should be banned, no one (not just children) should have to suffer smoking especially in confined spaces.
That said im not sure how it will be policed and concerned that if police opt to pull someone smoking with a child in the car they then miss the opportunity to pull for example a reckless driver speeding or reckless driver on mobile etc as they are dealing with a smoking driver.