News: Smoke-Free Cars for Children


The Department of Health has introduced a new policy that will ban smoking in cars with children from October. But is this far enough?

Three million children every year are adversely affected by second hand smoke in their family car. Exposure to this second hand smoke has been linked to an increased risk of a range of illnesses including lower respiratory tract infections, asthma, ear infections and sudden unexpected death in infancy.

As a result, the Department of Health is implementing a new ‘smoke-free’ legislation that will ban smoking in cars with children. From 1 October, anyone caught smoking in a car with children will be faced with a £50 fine.

Chief Medical Officer, Dame Sally Davies, has called on parents not to expose their children to dangerous toxins this summer:

“Children breathe faster than adults so they are much more exposed to the dangers of second-hand smoke. Their airways, lungs and immune systems are still developing so are much more at risk from harm.”

“We want children to grow up free from harm and we need parents to understand why smoking in vehicles is so dangerous. 80 per cent of smoke is invisible so even if you think you are being careful you cannot see where the smoke is going.”

The new policy will be positive advancement, but car leasing company questions whether it has gone far enough. The new law may pose some difficulties in ‘borderline’ cases, where police officers may have to guess whether passengers are under 18 and therefore classified as children.

A survey by showed that 91% of non-smokers supported a general ban on smoking in cars, and 73% of smokers. While the new policy is a positive step forward, it seems that there is a general consensus for a blanket ban on smoking in cars, whether children are present or not.

A new animation has been released to help raise public awareness of the new law. Watch it here