Road Safety News
 

Peers back proposal to ban smoking in cars

Wednesday 29th January 2014

The House of Lords has backed by 222 votes to 197 a proposal to ban smoking in cars in which children are passengers (BBC News).

The Labour peers Lord Hunt, Lord Faulkner and Baroness Hughes tabled an amendment to the Children and Families Bill detailing their proposal for England, which they said was about "protecting children".

The amendment empowers, but does not compel, the Government to make it a criminal offence for drivers to fail to prevent smoking in their vehicle when children are present.

The issue of smoking in cars has been a topic of debate since legislation was introduced back in 2007 to ban smoking in enclosed public spaces and places of work.

In February 2013 Anna Soubry, England’s public health minister, suggested that smoking should banned in cars on “child welfare” grounds.

And in November 2011 the British Medical Association said that smoking in cars should be banned across the UK to protect people from second-hand smoke.

Back in June 2009 professor Terence Stephenson, head of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, called for a ban on smoking in cars when children are passengers. At the time he said: "You can't inflict this on your colleagues any more. Why should we treat our children's health as a lower priority?”

At the time when the smoking legislation was introduced (July 2007), Road Safety GB (then LARSOA) campaigned for a ban on drivers being allowed to smoke because of the danger of distraction.

While the present discussion is about the dangers to children of second hand smoke, on BBC 5 Live this morning (29 Jan) the debate widened to include whether it is safe to smoke while driving.

 

Comments

Comment on this story
Report a reader comment

What's your view - comment on this story:

I confirm that I have read and accept the moderation policy and house rules relating to comments posted on this website.
Your comment:
Your name and location:
Your email:

Will the ban still apply to convertibles if the hood is down? Or if not a convertible, suppose one or more of the windows are open - if so how many? What if the air-con is on? etc. Sorry to appear flippant, but if the Government has found time to deal with this then as I said before, I think there are far greater and more immediate risks to life and limb to a car occupant that need addressing, than the quality of the air within it.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (7) | Disagree (1)
+6

If an adult is prepared to smoke in a car with a child, there are fundamental issues more serious than the exposure of the child to smoke while in the car, just for example, they may be exposed to it for much longer at home. Looks yet more simplistic, poorly thought through nannying unlikely to actually prevent a problem but likely to further distract attention from more important issues.
Dave Taylor, Guildford

Agree (10) | Disagree (2)
+8

Just checking on the actuals from the ONS reveals something interesting.

"In 2010 out of 9.5 million children under the age of 14 in England and Wales 172 died in accidents. This included 21 pedestrians, 12 cyclists, 17 car passengers, 22 by drowning, 27 by accidental strangulation and 10 in fires.

With drowning and accidental strangulation (usually by window blind cords) at the top of the list it seems strange that the Government would worry overly much about the vanishingly small number of children that might be exposed to cigarette smoke.

Maybe what we should be worrying about is the huge increase in the number of children being carried in cars as they are ferried everywhere by their doting parents. If the little dears are not in the car in the first place then they cannot be exposed to the 'evils' of smoke and so the problem, if it exists, simply goes away.
Duncan MacKillop, Stratford on Avon

Agree (8) | Disagree (2)
+6

A child in a car is exposed to the potential risk of injury in a collision, mitigated by whatever other measures are in place e.g. child seat, the design of the car and so on. Whereas the cigarette smoke is present and forms an actual not a potential risk throughout the child's exposure to it, within the confined space of the car.
Honor Byford, North Yorkshire

Agree (6) | Disagree (6)
0

I would suggest that the biggest threat to a child's welfare in a moving vehicle is not cigarette smoke, but the manner of driving of whoever's at the wheel. I would think that any ill-effects of being in a smoky environment pale into insignificance compared to being plunged through the windscreen or head-butting the passengers in front.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (8) | Disagree (7)
+1