Clear The Air News Tobacco Blog Rotating Header Image

Ban Smoking In Cars With Children

sources: ,

Adults should be banned from smoking in cars when children are passengers, the new head of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health has said.

In a BBC News website Scrubbing Up column, Professor Terence Stephenson, said children deserved protection.

“You can’t inflict this on your colleagues any more. Why should we treat our children’s health as a lower priority?” he said.

A Department of Health spokesman said it would review smoking laws next year. Professor Stephenson,

who recently took over as head of the college, said children should not have to breathe in their parents’ cigarette smoke.

“Why on earth would you light up in your car whilst your children are sitting happily in the back? “On the assumption that you wouldn’t pass the packet round and invite the kids to light up, why make them breathe tobacco smoke at all?”

He said the Canadian province of New Brunswick, California, South Australia and Cyprus had already introduced such legislation successfully.
And Professor Stephenson said second-hand smoke had been linked to chest infections, asthma and ear problems in children.

‘Impractical suggestion’
Deborah Arnott, chief executive of the anti-smoking charity Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), backed a complete ban on smoking in vehicles.

“Cars are small tin boxes, with not much air in them.

“Smoking just one cigarette, even with the window open, creates a greater concentration of second-hand smoke than a whole evening’s smoking in a pub or a bar.

“That’s not just bad for children but for adults too, especially those who already have heart or lung diseases.”

And a spokeswoman for the road safety charity, Brake, said smoking while driving meant people were not concentrating on the road.

“All that can add up to not having proper control of your vehicle or dangerous driving.”
She said it might be useful to have a law banning smoking in the same way there was in force regarding

using hand-held mobile phones.

But Neil Rafferty, Scottish spokesman for Forest, the pro-smokers’ rights group, said: “We don’t think that children should be exposed to smoke in a car but a ban would be a waste of police and court time.
“Would it be OK if you opened the sunroof or a window while smoking? It’s an impractical suggestion.
“People like those at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health should be more realistic about what is possible.”
A Department of Health spokesman said it would look at whether current anti-smoking laws needed to be extended.
He added: “We would always strongly recommend that people do not smoke in cars, especially those used to transport children.”



Drivers who smoke at the wheel to be hit with £60 fine and three penalty points


Last updated at 01:09 29 September 2007

Drivers who smoke at the wheel could face prosecution

Drivers who smoke at the wheel could face prosecution under changes to the Highway Code.

Lighting-up at the wheel has been added to the list of “distractions” which police and lawyers can cite in court when seeking a conviction for a traffic offence.

It joins eating and drinking, “inserting a cassette or CD or tuning a radio”, “arguing with your passengers or other road users”, trying to read maps, and – even playing loud music – most, if not all, of which have featured in successful prosecutions.

Read more…

High-profile cases have involved motorists eating apples, Kit-Kats and sausage rolls.

Up to one in four UK adults smoke, which could mean more than eight million of the nation’s 33 million motorists are at risk.

Brian James, road traffic chairman of the Magistrates Association, said that although the code carries no legal force, failure to observe its advice could be used as evidence that an offence had been committed.

The new Highway Code, the first for eight years, has increased in size by about 50 per cent and contains 29 more rules. There is also a new section for novice drivers.

Andrew Howard, the AA’s head of road safety, said last night: “The Highway Code is the definitive guide to safe and lawful road use.

“It has grown since 1931 from 18 pages to 135, reflecting the complexities of modern motoring.

A major change is the inclusion of smoking at the wheel as behaviour that police may interpret as a distraction and failure to be in proper control of the vehicle.

“It can – and no doubt will – be used in court as corroborating evidence.”

A recent report by academics at Brunel University warned that car crashes could rise as the ban on smoking in public places leads more people to take a drag at the wheel.

It said smokers drive 23 per cent faster and are more inconsistent than non-smokers.

The report for insurance company Privilege reinforced growing calls for smoking while driving top be made a criminal offence like using a mobile phone, which now attracts three penalty points and a £60 fine.

Supporters say holding a cigarette is equally dangerous.

The code’s new section for novice drivers tells them:

– If you are driving with passengers, you are responsible for their safety;

– Don’t let them distract you or encourage you to take risks;

– Never show off or try to compete with other drivers, particularly if they are driving badly.

• Only one in 20 accidents are caused by drivers breaking the speed limit, Government figures showed yesterday.

A failure to look properly at the road and traffic is a bigger reason. It was a contributory factor in more than a third of accidents and one in five deaths last year, according to the Transport Department.

A major change is the code’s inclusion of smoking at the wheel as behaviour that police may interpret as a distraction and failure to be in proper control of the vehicle. This addition will polarise drivers’ opinions both for and against.”

What are these changes to the Highway Code?

  • smoking behind the wheel is a breach of the rules of the road and could be seen as a ‘distraction’
  • new safety code for novice drivers, which includes ‘don’t show off or compete with other drivers’
  • updates on vehicle emissions information
  • new traffic calming initiatives explained: quiet lanes, high-occupancy vehicle lanes and home zones
  • advice on the stopping powers of Highway Agency Traffic Officers
  • an explanation of the law on smoking in company cars

In the UK and elsewhere work vehicles are classified as workplaces – why does Hong Kong not follow this sensible law ?

  • Failing to prevent smoking in smoke-free vehicles
  • 2. The following persons are under a duty corresponding to that in section 8(1) of the Act to cause any person who is smoking in a smoke-free vehicle to stop smoking—
  • (a) the driver;
  • (b) any person with management responsibilities for the vehicle; and
  • (c) any person on a vehicle who is responsible for order or safety on it.

PART 3 Vehicles

Enclosed vehicles

11.—(1) Subject to the following paragraphs of this regulation, an enclosed vehicle and any enclosed part of a vehicle is smoke-free if it is used—

(a) by members of the public or a section of the public (whether or not for reward or hire); or

(b) in the course of paid or voluntary work by more than one person (even if those persons use the vehicle at different times, or only intermittently).

(2) A vehicle or part of a vehicle is enclosed for the purposes of paragraph (1) where it is enclosed wholly or partly by a roof and by any door or window that may be opened.

(3) Except where paragraph (4) applies, “roof” in paragraph (2) includes any fixed or moveable structure or device which is capable of covering all or part of the vehicle, including any canvas, fabric or other covering.

(4) In relation to a vehicle that is engaged in conveying persons, “roof” does not include any fixed or moveable structure or device which is completely stowed away so that it does not cover all or any part of the vehicle.

(5) A vehicle is not used in the course of paid or voluntary work for the purposes of paragraph (1)(b) where it is used primarily for the private purposes of a person who—

(a) owns it; or

(b) has a right to use it which is not restricted to a particular journey.

(6) This regulation applies to all vehicles other than—

(a) aircraft; or

(b) ships or hovercraft in respect of which regulations could be made under section 85 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995(6) (safety and health on ships), including that section as applied by any Order in Council under section 1(1)(h) of the Hovercraft Act 1968(7) or to persons on any such ships or hovercraft.

Signed by authority of the Secretary of State for Health

Comments are closed.