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.