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June 9th, 2013:

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Hume proposes new bill to protect children from passive smoking in carsJim Hume

2 April 2013

MSP for South Scotland, Jim Hume, has announced his intention to consult on a proposal for a Member’s Bill which would ban smoking in cars with children. There are a number of countries which have legislated to ban smoking in vehicles while children are present, including Australia, Canada, South Africa and others.

Despite the volume of smoke-free legislation that has taken place over the past decade or so, private vehicles remain one of the few places where children can legally be exposed to passive smoking. Research carried out by the Royal College of Physicians has revealed that children exposed to passive smoking are more likely to start smoking than those growing up in smoke free environments.

Research has also indicated that the negative health effects associated with a child’s exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke include increased risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, coughing and wheezing, asthma and lower respiratory tract infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia. Commenting on his plans, Mr Hume said:

“Scotland faces an enormous challenge in changing our relationship with tobacco. By banning adults from smoking in their cars whilst children are present, we can build a fairer society which gives every child the best start in life.

“It doesn’t seem fair that children should suffer from passive smoking during the school run. It doesn’t seem fair that any child should have to be swallowed up in a cloud of tar and nicotine on their way to football or dance classes. Nowadays attitudes towards smoking have changed dramatically and most parents and grandparents would think twice before smoking around their kids.

“But even one child being affected by an illness they didn’t ask for due to passive smoking is a scar on our society. I am proud that Scotland has led the way in efforts to curb the scourge of tobacco in our communities. The Scottish Government’s decision to support standardised tobacco packaging is a progressive step in the right direction.

“Following on from other ground breaking initiatives such as the ban of smoking in public places, I hope that people of all parties and none will contribute to the consultation in due course. They will be joining a host of other organisations which already include British Heart Foundation, British Lung Foundation and Cancer Research UK.

“This is about guaranteeing that children in Scotland have the freedom to go on and lead healthy lives if they choose to. And that starts with removing barriers such as smoke-filled cars.”