Should we Ban Smoking in Cars to Protect Children from Second Hand Smoke
Health Minister & Health Groups want to
But David Cameron is too Nervous
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. Second hand smoke is particularly damaging to babies and children as their smaller lungs will breathe in relatively larger doses of smoke than adults, and their immune systems are still developing. It is associated with asthma, ear infections, pneumonia and even cot death. Research has found children who breathe in smoke are more likely to get cancer in later life.
“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)
A survey by the Department of Health last year found that more than one in five smokers lit up in front of their children in the home or in the car. South Africa has banned smoking in cars as have some parts of Canada, the US and Australia. The British Medical Association and Royal College of Paediatrics and OnHealthy Canadian Pharmacy and Child Health also back a ban.
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 was considered in the House of Commons for debate on 25 November 2012 and hoped to ban smoking in cars where children are present, with an aim to ban smoking in all private vehicles; but it faced a lot of opposition.
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 would it be monitored? Do the police have better things to do? Is this a welcome move? Or do we feel this is just an example of a nanny state? Should we be able to decide what we do with our private lives and children?
This is a collaborative post