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Police Plan Softly-Softly Approach to new Smoking Legislation

October 1, 2015
Public Health

smoke-carThe National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) have said that they would advise officers to take a ‘non-confrontational’ approach to enforcing the ban on smoking in cars with children, which comes into force today (1st October).

The Department of Health have backed the NPCC, and based on experience from the introduction of current smoke-free legislation are proposing that the approach should be adopted for the first three months to help build a high level of compliance.

Speaking in the Guardian, an NPCC spokeswoman said, “Police forces will be taking an educational, advisory and non-confrontational approach when enforcing the new legislation. This would see people being given warnings rather than being issued with fines, which would give time for public awareness of the offences to build.”

A recent RAC survey raised concerns about how practical enforcement of the ban would be, with 90% of drivers questioned believing no action would be taken. It is estimated that up to 3 million children are exposed to smoke in vehicles, while 300,000 children visit a GP each year because of the effects of second-hand smoke. The Scottish parliament are expected to introduce their own ban next year, but officials in Northern Ireland are yet to decide whether to follow suit.

In addition, from today it will be an offence to sell e-cigarettes to, or buy the devices for, anyone under 18 in England and Wales.