Ban Smoking in Cars?

Should we ban smoking in cars?

In Britain around 80,000 people a year still die of smoking-related illnesses. Every year over 300,000 children in the UK go to their GP with illnesses such as bronchitis and pneumonia as a result of exposure to passive smoking.

“A study by the Royal College of Physicians (2010) shows that living in a household where one or more people smoke more than doubles the risk of sudden infant death, wheezing and bacterial meningitis.
The same study indicates that passive smoking is responsible for 11% of lower respiratory infection in children under 3yrs, and 10% of asthma and 22% of meningitis in children over 5yrs old.

Smoking just 1 cigarette in a car can put air quality into the ‘unhealthy’ category. That same cigarette will emit 50 times more fine particles into a car than those emitted by the car’s exhaust in the time it takes to smoke the cigarette. “

 (source)

The British Medical Association has proposed that smoking in cars should be banned in all circumstances. Children absorb the quickly built up toxins, which are up to 23 times more than in a smoky bar, faster than adults – and increases the likelihood that they will themselves become smokers.

Labour MP Alex Cunningham’s Private Members Bill to ban smoking in private vehicles is going to be considered in the House of Commons is up for debate on 25 November and hopes to ban smoking in cars where children are present. With an aim to ban smoking in all private vehicles.

Simon Clark from Forest (a pro-smoking group) argues that evidence that passengers are at risk is weak. That they don’t condone smoking around children in a confined space but occurrence of this is rare (most people open the windows). That as adults people should have a choice whether they smoke in their own cars (and homes). That passengers do not have to ride in the car with them.

We used to be able to smoke in shops, bars, restaurants, buses etc – and now it’s considered the norm not to….will this lead on to a complete ban on smoking?

How will this be monitored? Do the police have better things to do?

Many other places around the World have already protected children with a ban on smoking in cars. The change will come into force next December and be fought against, in the meantime, by the big tobacco firms.