England and Wales Ban Smoking in Cars Carrying Children
Following parliament’s decision yesterday to ban smoking in cars carrying children, Welsh politicians have followed suit by announcing the new rules will also come into force in Wales on October 1st. At Westminster 342 MP’s voted in favour of a ban with 74 against.
The British Lung Foundation (BLF) estimate that 430,000 children are exposed to second hand smoke in vehicles each week. While welcoming the move as a ‘tremendous victory’, BLF chief executive Dr Penny Woods hopes that the government will now go on to introduce plain tobacco packaging; “We urge the government to show the same commitment to introduce standardised packaging for all tobacco products, in order to protect the 200,000 children taking up smoking every year in this country,” she said. “We are certain that these measures together will prove to be two of the most significant milestones for public health since the smoke-free legislation of 2007.”
Drivers who smoke or fail to prevent others in the same car from doing so, when children under 18 are present will be subject to a £50 fixed penalty fine. The legislation will be enforced by the police as part of their existing road traffic powers. There is strong cross party support for a similar ban to be introduced in Scotland where Liberal Democrat MSP Jim Hume is attempting to make his private members bill into Scottish law.