Anna Soubry, England’s public health minister, has suggested that smoking should banned in cars on “child welfare” grounds.
Several health groups have backed Ms Soubry’s call for action, but to date it has been resisted by the Government, claims BBC News.
Speaking at the Local Government Association’s annual public health conference, Ms Soubry said: “I would ban smoking in cars where children are present. I would do that for the protection of children. I would see it as a child welfare issue. I think it is something we should at least consider as Government.”
Martin Dockrell, director of policy and research at the campaign group Action on Smoking and Health, said: “The minister can count on our support and the majority of the public. A ban on smoking in cars is the right thing to do. We need to think about whether this should just be aimed at children. Older adults are vulnerable too.”
A host of other health groups have also called for a ban in cars, including the British Medical Association and Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.
Back in 2007, Road Safety GB (then LARSOA) called on the Government to look into introducing a blanket ban on smoking while driving, on road safety grounds.
At the time Road Safety GB claimed that lighting and then smoking a cigarette while driving is a potential distraction; and coupled with that the dangerous practice of discarding the butt into the path of the car, bicycle, or motorbike could lead to a crash.
Road traffic legislation already places responsibility on all drivers to have proper control of their vehicles. Any motorist who fails to do so, for whatever reason, such as smoking, or eating and drinking is liable to prosecution.
In Wales, ministers have said they will look to ban smoking in cars if their current drive to reduce smoking does not work. Bans have already been introduced in other parts of the world.
Click here to read the full BBC News report.