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Bid to Ban Smoking in Cars Carrying Children

June 3, 2013
Public Health

South of Scotland Liberal Democrat MSP Jim Hume has opened a public consultation on his proposal to introduce a members bill in the Scottish Parliament to ban smoking in cars carrying children. ASH Scotland and the British Lung Foundation are both supporting the move pointing to evidence from a 2010 NHS study that concluded 18% of children aged between 11 and 15 were exposed to smoke in cars. The Royal College of Physicians have warned that children exposed to passive smoking are more likely to take up the habit than those from a smoke free environment. Mr Hume feels that despite successful bans in public places vehicles are one area where exposure is still a problem.”Passive smoking is entirely avoidable and a private vehicle is one of the few places a child can still be legally exposed to tobacco smoke.”

Exposure to fine particulates was found to be more than three times higher than the WHO’s 25µg/m3 maximum safe indoor air limit during tests carried out by the University of Aberdeen involving a driver smoking four cigarettes during a journey. Even where a single cigarette was used limits were still exceeded leading researchers to conclude “ we believe that there is a clear need for legislation to prohibit smoking in cars where children are present.” Bans have already proved popular in other countries such as Australia, Canada, and South Africa.

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