Smoking in cars should be banned across the UK to protect people from second-hand smoke, according to the British Medical Association (BBC News).
The BMA has called for the extension of the current ban on smoking in public places after reviewing evidence of the dangers. It highlights research showing the levels of toxins in a car can be up to 23 times higher than in a smoky bar.
However, a report by a cross-party group of MPs and peers said non-legislative options should be considered as well. According to BBC News, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health believes that calling for an immediate ban could be ‘counterproductive’ as consensus needed to be built across society before taking such as step.
The group said there should be a consultation on tackling smoking in cars which could look at whether it would be better to have an outright ban, or if more could be achieved by raising awareness about the dangers through education campaigns. It also pointed out that policing a ban on smoking in cars could be difficult.
Ministers in Northern Ireland have said they will launch a consultation on the issue, while, in Wales, a public awareness campaign has begun highlighting the dangers of smoking in cars. But legislation is not currently being considered in England or Scotland.
According to BBC News, the BMA believes that tougher action is needed and that an outright ban (even if there were no passengers) would be the best way of protecting children as well as non-smoking adults.
Click here to read the full BBC News report.
Footnote: several years ago Road Safety GB (LARSOA as it was then) opened up a national debate about the dangers of smoking while driving, arguing that it was a potential distraction.