Commons Vote Opens Door on Smoking Ban in Cars with Kids
Legislation banning smoking in cars with children present is likely to be introduced in England and Wales before the general election after a vote in the House of Commons came out in favour of an amendment to the Children and Families Bill.
The Prime Minister wasn’t present for the free vote, which was passed by 376 votes to 107 and will now give ministers the ability to introduce legislation within a year. After many months campaigning for a ban, Dr Penny Woods, chief executive of the British Lung Foundation, was understandably delighted by the result. “With both Houses of Parliament having made their support for the ban clear, the onus is now on the Government to act accordingly and make this crucial child protection measure law at the earliest opportunity,” she said.
Figures from a survey conducted by the Foundation have estimated that 430,000 children aged between 11 and 15 are exposed to second-hand smoke in cars every week. Government officials will now be working on the fine details of the new legislation, including a decision on how it will be enforced. It is likely a time-limited consultation will be issued shortly.
Public Health England will continue its campaign to advise parents of the dangers of second-hand smoke, encouraging them to stop smoking in all areas where children are present. A UK-wide ban could be introduced, with Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP Jim Hume set to present a bill later this year to the Scottish parliament, while Northern Ireland Health Minister Edwin Poots has already announced plans for a consultation on the issue.