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Smoking in cars ban welcomed

Posted onPosted on 13th Feb

Nottinghamshire County Council has welcomed the news that smoking in cars when someone under the age of 18 is present is to be banned from October 2015.

The County Council is also backing the new Public Health England campaign which launched this week and is highlighting the dangers of secondhand smoke in homes and cars.

Councillor Joyce Bosnjak, chair of the Nottinghamshire Health and Wellbeing Board said:

“From 1 October, drivers in Nottinghamshire will not be allowed to smoke in private vehicles that are carrying anyone under 18.

“This is something that we have campaigned for as a Council, so we’re delighted to see the legislation coming through now.

“We are currently looking at how we tackle tobacco harm in our communities, and an absolutely vital aspect of this is protecting our children from the damage smoking causes.

“Especially within confined spaces like cars, exposing young people to second hand smoke opens them up to risk of developing serious conditions. Children aren’t always able to articulate when they want someone not to smoke around them. This law takes that out of their hands.

“We know that the vast majority of people are aware of the dangers of second hand smoke, and wouldn’t dream of exposing young people to it, but enshrining that principle in law helps protect all of your young people from the dangers.”

Public Health England this week re-launched its campaign to highlight the hidden damage that secondhand smoke in homes and cars can cause to children’s health – coinciding with the passing by Parliament of regulations to end smoking in cars carrying children in England.

Secondhand smoke is particularly harmful to children as they breathe more rapidly and have less developed airways. Children being exposed to secondhand smoke results in more than 300,000 GP consultations and 9,500 hospital admissions every year .

The government estimates that three million children in England are exposed to secondhand smoke in their family car, which puts them at risk of serious conditions including, respiratory infections, meningitis and triggering asthma. A survey by the British Lung Foundation found that 86% of children who are exposed to smoking in cars would like the smoker to stop; yet only 31% actually feel able to ask them to do so.

Professor Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer said:

“The passing of regulation to make smoking in cars carrying under 18s illegal is a significant victory for protecting children’s health from secondhand smoke. Smoking just a single cigarette in a car exposes children to high levels of air pollutants and cancer causing chemicals like arsenic, formaldehyde and tar.

“Children are least equipped to speak out to protest against secondhand smoke, so I welcome this legislation to end smoking in cars when they are present.”

The government and public health professionals see this vote as a significant milestone in protecting children from the health risks of secondhand smoke. The law will come into force on 1 October 2015, and people failing to comply could face a £50 fixed penalty notice.

The Smokefree Homes and Cars campaign features advertising on TV, radio and online from 9 February 2015. It highlights that many parents are often unaware of the damage smoking in the home and car causes to children’s health, and encourages them to quit.