Smoking in cars carrying kids will be banned

Wales backs car smoking ban
11 Feb, 2014 10:35am Steve Walker Joe Finnerty

MPs voted in favour of a ban on smoking in cars carrying children

Smoking in cars carrying children is on course to be banned after MPs voted overwhelmingly in favour of the proposals in the House of Commons.

Lighting up on the school run or family outings can now be made illegal with the Commons vote giving Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt the power to bring in a law.

The vote - passed by 376 votes to 107 - also gave the Welsh government the power to introduce it. Ministers must now decide if they want to make smoking in cars carrying children illegal in Wales.

MPs were given a free vote on the amendment to the Children and Families Bill on Monday (February 10) but Prime Minister David Cameron chose to miss the vote in favour of staying with flood victims in the South West.

The vote split the cabinet with Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Home Secretary Theresa May joining 102 Tories in opposing the move. Only four Lib Dems - including Mr Clegg - voted against the ban.

The ban will not come into force immediately but once in place it is likely to carry a £60 fixed penalty fine or points on a driving licence - similar to using a mobile phone. Question marks were raised during the debate about how any law would be enforced, similar to concerns over how motorists are policed for offences such as lane hogging or failing to wear a seatbelt.

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Figures show that 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, Australia, Canada and a few European countries.

Dr Penny Woods, chief executive of the British Lung Foundation, said: "Having campaigned on this issue for many years, we're absolutely delighted that MPs have backed the ban on smoking in cars carrying children. This could prove a great leap forward for the health of our nation's children."

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Opposition ministers had described the ban - which was tabled by a Labour peer in the House of Lords - as a "blunt instrument" and stated they preferred the use of public information campaigns to address the problem. But the proposals were surprisingly supported by the Lords in January.

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What's your view on the possible ban on smoking in cars carrying kids? Are you in favour and could the law be successfully policed? Tell us on Facebook, Twitter or 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.