Regulations prohibiting smoking in cars with children under 18 have been laid before Parliament today – and if passed, could be in place by October 2015
There is already widespread support for smokefree cars when children are present, both among the public and MPs.
In Parliament, the primary legislation was approved on a free vote by a majority of 376 to 107, a majority of 269 – a larger majority than that for the 2007 smoke-free public places law.
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Furthermore, a poll conducted in March by YouGov for ASH found that 77% of adults, including 64% of smokers, agreed that smoking should be prohibited in cars that are carrying children younger than 18 years of age.
Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of Action on Smoking and Health, said: ‘We are delighted that the Government is to press ahead with regulations to prohibit smoking in cars containing children. We also urge the Government to put the regulations on standardised packaging to Parliament before the general election. This, together with the protection of children from secondhand smoke in cars, will help de-normalise smoking and protect children from this deadly addiction.’
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Responding to the Government’s announcement on prohibiting smoking in vehicles when children are present, Dr Hilary Cass, President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health said: ‘This is a victory for child health – and for the future health of the nation. Government has recognised the overwhelming public support, and the medical evidence, for why smoking in cars with children present makes sense.
‘The UK has more cases of asthma and higher asthma deaths in children than the majority of our Western European counterparts. Improving these figures must start with preventative measures like this.
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‘We have long said that children are passive victims of smoke in enclosed spaces – and with smoke in cars up to 11 times more concentrated than in a smoky bar – this will make a huge different to the health of children across the country.’
‘We urge Government to be similarly bold in its action on standardised cigarette packaging, to send out the strong message that smoking kills and to free generations of children from smoke-related illness,’ she added.