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. “


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.


8 thoughts on “Ban Smoking in Cars?”

  1. Yes, yes, yes! About bloody time. This is one campaign I support 100% (that and banning smacking) and I can’t believe this hasn’t been introduced sooner. These babies and children don’t get a say when their parents smoke in cars. I remember my mother used to smoke when I was young and it made me feel sick. It is the worst example there is of passive smoking.

  2. good post. I hope that this is something that gets implemented. And not to mention all of the car fires due to smoking in cars as well.

  3. I’m not so sure. How can this really be policed…? Using mobile phones which aren’t hands free is supposed to be banned and how many car drivers do I see using one. Too many to count. It’s becoming too much when the state interferes so much with your private life (and I would include smacking in that). I think education is the way… it’s only when people want to do it that they will. Not when they are ‘told’ to do it by an entity that cannot really enforce itself. What also of the accidentsroad rage that might be triggered by stressed, nicotine deprived drivers.

    By the way I don’t smoke and I never have…

      • Everyone’s saying it’s right to do it, but no one is facing the fact that it’s unenforceable (as can be seen by the mobile phone fiasco in cars). Education rather than enforcement has to be the way. There really are far worse things out there to worry about and I’d much rather the police focused on these more – to ban an adult smoking in their own car when on their own is ludicrous and frankly a waste of police time and funds. Fast foods will be targeted next – again I don’t eat very often but viva la difference and live and let live. (We might have to agree to disagree on this one!) I grew up with two heavy smokers (as I suspect many of my generation did). Probably the best anti-smoking promotion that I know of… 😉 – not as flippant as it might sound.

        To ban it altogether will push it underground, like smoking pot. Perfectly freely available even when illegal and to some extent makes it more attractive to those who choose to use it. It will certainly not stop anyone who wants to smoke, smoke. The government get way too much money from cigarettes too, it’ll never happen.

        I like these debates. Thanks for such an interesting blog. There are always two sides to every argument.

        • I think if it were completely banned it would help many people who smoke just out of availability and habit.

          Maybe fast foods should be banned – again it has come a hell of a way – and at least it is food and has benefits unlike smoking.

          I grew up around smokers and smoked – it was normal. I believe in social learning theory in that we model in those around us.

          I think the government probably spend quiet a lot on smoking related diseases etc too – asthma rates alone would probably go down.

          Thank you for commenting, much appreciated 🙂

  4. I think that the state should be a nanny state if it means preserving children (and adults) health. If you smoke in a car with a child you are effectively hurting someone so should be punished. I hate it when you get into a taxi and there is the smokey smell and I have sometimes just walked out of it saying I couldn’t sit in it a minute longer.


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