The Government is bringing in legislation this year which will involve a ban on smoking in cars while carrying children, who are classed as under 18's. This new legislation will feature in the Children and Families Act. The Government had considered research which demonstrated that 600 children start smoking every day in the UK.
Our Government wants to protect children from the long term damage that smoking does to the body, including cancer, heart disease, COPD and emphysema. The dangers of 'passive smoking' are well known. Many of us will agree and say that this is not before time. A recent Department of Health survey revealed that 300,000 children a year attended their local doctor with problems related to 'passive smoking'.
The ban will apply to anyone who has children in their vehicle and not just the parents. Drivers and passengers will be issued with a £50 on the spot fine for lighting up and failing to stop smoking in the car. A driver can also end up with five points on their licence. If it ends up in court costs can rise up to £800 for a smoking passenger and £10,000 for a driver who doesn't stop the vehicle's occupants from smoking. This creates a bit of a grey area as it means the driver has to prove they took 'reasonable steps' to stop the smoking and that could be hard to prove.
Campaign and charity group Ash (Action on Smoking & Health) are urging the Government to bring in the legislation before May and the General Election. Lobbying from the tobacco industry has already delayed action on this ban. The British Lung Foundation is supporting the ban and had some startling statistics about this:
- 430,000 children aged between 11 to 15 are exposed to second hand smoke in cars every week
- One cigarette smoked in a car can produce 11 times the amount of concentrations of smoke found in an average smoky pub
At Breakeryard.com we support this ban and look forward to seeing it in place. What do you think? Please leave your comments in the box below.