Should we Ban Smoking in Cars

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.

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“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.

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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.

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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

11 thoughts on “Should we Ban Smoking in Cars”

  1. I think it should be banned! And I am surprised it hasn’t been banned already. Some parents aren’t going to protect their kids from second hand smoke so someone has too. I smoke, but I would never smoke in a car where my child is present. I never smoke around him either.

  2. I hate the thought of people smoking around children and in particular in a confined space like a car. My only problem with this ban, is just how would they ever police it. Smoking is already banned in work vehicles, post vans, even builders vans and yet it still happens, I see people smoking in work vehicles all the time. The police just don’t have the resources to watch every vehicle on the road and catch those having a fag. They struggle to get to grips with drunk drivers and those driving whilst under the influence of drugs.

    • I guess it would be a start and there would be people who would stop doing it because it was illegal. Especially if they thought that it could now risk having their children taken off them as it would be considered a child health risk – whilst at the moment it’s just acceptable.

      Thank you for commenting.

  3. Personally-I am tired of living in a Police State-while I do not condone smoking near children (and yes I do smoke)-I have seen evidence where it is not the adults smoking but the quality of the air we all breath-in a city near me there was a high incidence of asthma, etc in young children-they banned smoking in the homes etc–a few years later-no change-even with the children who had never been exposed to cigarette smoke–when they finally attempted to stop the smoke and chemicals billowing out of factories-suddenly the children got better!!

  4. They will never be able to ban smoking in cars. What you do in your own personal space is your choice. I just quit smoking after many years and regret the damage I probably did to my kids by smoking in the car with them. I am glad I won’t be hurting their lungs anymore.

  5. I am a smoker. I have been an ex smoker several times and I still haven’t given up on quitting. It is a nasty, expensive and poisonous habit! So to that I say ‘YES’ smoking in cars with children should be banned. I am not sure how they would accomplish that, but it is worth a try. Policeman have better things to do that writing tickets and arresting people for smoking in cars where children are present. Hopefully parents will realize what it does to children.

    I would hope that parents would have the compassion not to smoke anywhere close to their children. Even if you roll down your windows in the car when you smoke, 80% of the time the smoke blows right back in. I smoked with my children in the car when my children were little. I regret it now, but I am happy to say that they are 20 and 23 and are non smokers.

  6. Can I just vote for banning smoking–everywhere? LOL. Seriously though, I have breathing issues and I was riding in a car with a friend yesterday and the smell of left over cigarette smoke made it hard for me to breathe without cracking a window. There’s no way for me to be fair to the other side here…you smoke…I suffer. You don’t…I’m good.


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