England and Wales Prepare to Ban Smoking in Cars with Children Present

England and Wales Prepare to Ban Smoking in Cars with Children Present
General Health

Smoking in your car with children present will soon be illegal in England and Wales due to the awful health effects of smoking for exposed youngsters. In Wales, a campaign was recently launched to educate people about the ban, which is set to go into effect October 1.

Billboards and posters are popping up all over the nation, warning citizens that adults who get caught exposing youngsters to second-hand smoke in their vehicles will face an immediate fine of £50 (about $77 in U.S. dollars). Public service announcements concerning the ban will start receiving airtime on local radio stations, all in an effort to protect children under 18. [1]

As of October 1, it will also be illegal for retailers to sell e-cigarettes or liquid nicotine to someone under age 18, or to purchase or attempt to purchase tobacco or e-cigarettes for someone under 18.

All private, enclosed vehicles will be required to be smoke-free if someone under 18 is present. It will be considered an offense to go against the ban. The rules don’t apply to e-cigarettes, and smoking in a convertible is OK. [2]

The Department of Health said the ban was implemented because:

“Every time a child breathes in secondhand smoke, they breathe in thousands of chemicals. This puts them at risk of serious conditions, such as meningitis, cancer and respiratory infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia. It can also make asthma worse.

Secondhand smoke is dangerous for anyone, but children are especially vulnerable, because they breathe more rapidly and have less developed airways, lungs and immune systems. Over 80 per cent of cigarette smoke is invisible and opening windows does not remove its harmful effect.

The law is changing to protect children and young people from such harm.”

Recent studies have found that a large minority of children are still being exposed to second-hand smoke in cars. Seventeen percent of children from poor families said that smoking was allowed in the car in their presence compared to only 7% of those from more affluent families. [3]

The Welsh Government/Government Social Research found that, overall, 9% of children said smoking was allowed in the family car; 20% of children with a parent who smokes said smoking was allowed in the car; and children from lower-income families were twice as likely to say they were exposed to smoking in a car “sometimes” or “daily.” [4]

Lawmakers and health experts hope the new law will not only protect more children, but convince adults to make better lifestyle choices, too.

“This is an opportunity for some people to change their lives for the better. With one less place to smoke, there’s one more reason to quit, and we will continue to provide support and advice for those who want to achieve this,” said Health and Social Services Minister Mark Drakeford.

Additional Sources:

[1] BBC News

[2] Southern Daily Echo

[3] South Wales Evening Post

[4] Welsh Government