New law could be passed to ban smoking in cars with children

10 November 2014        

Cigarette on ashtray

New legislation could be passed next month banning smokers from lighting up in their cars when there are children present it has emerged.

The new law would make it a criminal offence to smoke or allowing smoking in a car carrying children and could come into force from October 2015.

The story has been debated in the media over the weekend. Here's our view on second-hand smoke.

Passive smoke

When non-smokers breathe in passive smoke – also known as second-hand smoke – it can be harmful. Around 11,000 people are estimated to die each year in the UK as a result of passive smoke.

Passive smoke is a cause of short- and long-term illness in others and is particularly harmful to children – especially in enclosed spaces. It can lead to an increased risk of heart disease, and other health problems such as asthma and meningitis.

Passive smoke negatively impacts on children and can also influence their habits in the future – children who are exposed to smoking in their homes are more likely to smoke than those who are brought up in smoke-free environments.

Protecting others from tobacco smoke

We believe that the single most effective way of reducing children's exposure to passive smoke is for parents to quit. But if this isn't possible, smokefree homes and cars offer the best alternative to help protect children from the harmful effects of passive smoke.

To promote public health and protect children from passive smoke, we are calling on UK Governments to:

  • protect children from the effects of passive smoke in cars by introducing a new law to prevent smoking in cars where children are present 
  • ensure that the current smokefree legislation protecting people in enclosed public places remains wide-ranging, including vehicles that are used for work, and 
  • promote smokefree homes through national and local campaigns 

For more information, please read our policy statement or email us at [email protected]