Labour is seeking to impose a ban on smoking in cars while children are present.

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Shadow public health minister Luciana Berger said the party intends to force a vote on an amendment to the Children and Families Bill in the House of Lords which it is tabling later today (Wednesday).

If it succeeds in getting the measure on to the statute book, it would make it an offence for drivers of private vehicles to fail to prevent smoking when a child is present.

Ms Berger said that almost 500,000 children in England were exposed to potentially toxic levels of second-hand smoke in family cars every week.

“We know that children are particularly vulnerable to passive smoking. We know that a single cigarette can create concentrations of tobacco smoke in a car that is 23 times more toxic than in a typical house,” she told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“Ministers have scrapped research that the last Labour government commissioned on smoking in cars with children. They have tried to kick this issue into the long grass and that’s why Labour has brought forward these proposals today and why we are going to force the vote in Parliament.”

Simon Clark, of the pro-smoking lobby group Forest, said legislation would be difficult to enforce and he accused Labour of “playing politics” with the issue.

“We think legislation is a very heavy-handed way to tackle this problem. I don’t think it is as big a problem as they like to make out. The vast majority of smokers wouldn’t dream of lighting a cigarette in a car with a child,” he said.

“We don’t need legislation that would be very, very difficult to enforce. Our concern is that what would happen is people will then say ‘Let’s have a ban on smoking in all private vehicles’ so you could have a lone driver on his own in his own vehicle lighting a cigarette and he would be committing an offence.

“If you say ‘Let’s ban smoking in cars with children present’, are you going to go on and try and ban smoking in the home if children are present?

“I think this would set a very bad precedent and lead to a lot of problems.”

What do you think of the idea to ban smoking in cars while children are present? Add your comments below or take part in our online poll.

24 comments

  • Have to agree with this. I was once stationary at traffic lights when I got rear ended by a driver who had just dropped a lit cigarette in his lap and was trying to retrieve it.

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    Anthony Stead

    Wednesday, January 29, 2014

  • It's unfortunatly a sign of the times now, If we don't like somethiong then just Ban it. No thought process into how it will be policed, or even educate the potential offenders before it happens. A tongue-in-cheek view to this could always Ban children from cars, that way they will have to walk or cycle. It keeps them fit, and the obesity levels should drop thus saving millions of GBP in NHS bills

    Report this comment

    muttley

    Wednesday, January 29, 2014

  • 'If' you love your children and are a responsible parent you cannot justify smoking in a car or even your own home when your children are present. The evidence that cigarette smoke contains carcinogens is irrefutable and most experts agree that passive smoking can be almost as bad for you as if was inhaled by smoking. Given that a child has no choice or say in what they eat, drink or breath,then it is the parents responsibility to try to limit whatever risks they can to ensure that their child grows up into adulthood with as great a chance of being healthy as possible. The additional risks of lighting a cigarette or smoking whilst driving are equally obvious to a responsible parent or driver but not it appears to those people who wish to defend their obnoxious habit.

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    Bad Form

    Wednesday, January 29, 2014

  • I have not yet seen ANY evidence that passive smoking is dangerous. Every anti goes on exclaiming "Oh but what about Roy Castle?". ONE example does not prove ANYTHING. The bigger danger here is children on cars, especially on the school run with frustrated mums at the wheel. This is a DANGEROUS DISTRACTION. BAN KIDS FROM CARS

    Report this comment

    Lord Elf

    Wednesday, January 29, 2014

  • What they should ban is people smoking in all outdoor seating areas which are used for the consumption of food. It really annoys me when you are just tucking into your food and some thoughtless person lights up on the next table.

    Report this comment

    BG

    Wednesday, January 29, 2014

  • Big brother - bring it on, B.G., sound familiar? I DONT smoke!

    Report this comment

    biglingers

    Wednesday, January 29, 2014

  • luanmapo your judgemental and arrogant "guess" is completely wrong as I voted No and I am a non smoker. At least I have the courage and honesty to put my real name here rather than hide behind silly made up names like you have. I voted no because I am fed up with ignorant people demanding ever more laws to decrease the freedom that we all take for granted. Making something illegal does not stop the problem it just makes it illegal. \\if we spent more thought and care trying to find a solution to this problem rather than imagining It will go away if we simply ban it then we might find a more effective solution. There are other equally harmful drugs in our society such as Heroin and other class A drugs which are illegal but are taken in homes that have children too. The law hasn't stopped that happening so I do not see why it would stop people smoking in cars where children are present.

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    Shirley Banester

    Wednesday, January 29, 2014

  • Smoking should be banned in all cars if there are children under the age of 16 on board, this system works in Australia and is enforced with large fines. If you are alone in the car and want to arrive at your destination smelling like a dirty ashtray, fine. But do not subject children to this abuse, and at the end of the day, that is what it is, even if people like Lord Elf want to bury their heads in the sand and deny the facts that passive smoking harms, especially young children and babies. So yes, ban it.

    Report this comment

    Mr T

    Wednesday, January 29, 2014

  • I have never understood why people are allowed to smoke in cars, you cant use mobile phones ! Ive seen people lighting up while driving with their knees, i say BAN IT along with putting make up on and doing your hair !

    Report this comment

    chris goulding

    Wednesday, January 29, 2014

  • In my humble opinion smoking by the driver in a car should be banned. Smoking means that the driver cannot possibly concentrate on the road, and there is always the risk of smoke or ash flying into eyes, or ash falling into the driver's lap, causing distraction!! Smoking in cars generally should NOT be banned. We live in a Nanny State already. We don't need more legislation. If parents cannot be sensible enough to refrain from smoking around their children, then so be it. Perhaps I should mention that I am a reformed smoker!

    Report this comment

    norfolkngood

    Wednesday, January 29, 2014

  • 'If' you love your children and are a responsible parent you cannot justify smoking in a car or even your own home when your children are present. The evidence that cigarette smoke contains carcinogens is irrefutable and most experts agree that passive smoking can be almost as bad for you as if was inhaled by smoking. Given that a child has no choice or say in what they eat, drink or breath,then it is the parents responsibility to try to limit whatever risks they can to ensure that their child grows up into adulthood with as great a chance of being healthy as possible. The additional risks of lighting a cigarette or smoking whilst driving are equally obvious to a responsible parent or driver but not it appears to those people who wish to defend their obnoxious habit.

    Report this comment

    Bad Form

    Wednesday, January 29, 2014

  • Smoking is stupid. In front of children even worse. But where does State intervention stop? There is a steady drip of legislation taking away all personal choice. What is the next thing on the agenda? What you are allowed to eat and drink?

    Report this comment

    norman hall

    Thursday, January 30, 2014

  • Smoking should be banned in all cars if there are children under the age of 16 on board, this system works in Australia and is enforced with large fines. If you are alone in the car and want to arrive at your destination smelling like a dirty ashtray, fine. But do not subject children to this abuse, and at the end of the day, that is what it is, even if people like Lord Elf want to bury their heads in the sand and deny the facts that passive smoking harms, especially young children and babies. So yes, ban it.

    Report this comment

    Mr T

    Wednesday, January 29, 2014

  • My guess is that the 11% in the poll so far who have said no, are people who already smoke in their cars whilst children are present. Vile habit, those poor children. If you wish to smoke, do not inflict on others. Esepcially, innocent children who are so vulnerable and do not have the choice.

    Report this comment

    luanmapo

    Wednesday, January 29, 2014

  • Ban Smoking, putting make up on and doing your hair Concentrate on driving your car and other road users

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    chris goulding

    Wednesday, January 29, 2014

  • norman hall- The comments you've made are very valid and of course very apt when they apply to adults. However, children don't have the option to make rational decisions based on the available information about the potential dangers involved in smoking and rely on their patents to make those decisions for them. Ultimately, a parent who 'inflicts' harm to their child by deliberately exposing them to the unnecessary risks incurred by inhaling cigarette smoke also expect the NHS to treat them for any illnesses which the incur as a result and which place an unnecessary burden on society to fund.

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    Bad Form

    Thursday, January 30, 2014

  • Well said Ms Banester and good on you for using your name. The envrionment inside our cars is not healthy, minute abrasives fom brakes and clutch, not to speak of nminute particles from diesel engine's. Add to that the regularity of the daily school run, regular pollution never considered. Its shown that Asthma rates in school aged kids living next to major roads is higher than normal, traffic fumes can also kill! This step is one too far as the space within a car is not public, its yours and those sharing it with you agree to be there, or not. Anyone who shares their cigarette smoke with their kids needs their head examining. No good taking the kid to a doctor with a cough if one is sharing fag smoke with a child, its the parents fault.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Wednesday, January 29, 2014

  • yet another step towards complete control by this government and country. I agree with muttly it would also mean I could safely exit our road junction and avoid all the school run mums who live just up the road. I cant wait to see what the next agenda will be.

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    i am mostly wrong??

    Thursday, January 30, 2014

  • Too much banning in this day and age!! Any thinking person doesn't even smoke so the question of banning smoking - is it a good idea or a bad idea - doesn't arise. Thought of banning People? Most of the problems on Earth would disappear overnight, poverty, hunger, wars ... the lot!

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    Patrick

    Wednesday, January 29, 2014

  • My guess is that the 11% in the poll so far who have said no, are people who already smoke in their cars whilst children are present. Vile habit, those poor children. If you wish to smoke, do not inflict on others. Esepcially, innocent children who are so vulnerable and do not have the choice.

    Report this comment

    luanmapo

    Wednesday, January 29, 2014

  • How will plod enforce this then ?. They cannot even enforce the ban on mobile phones, especially in the 4x4's with blacked out windows (lots of which around the Yarmouth area).

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    "V"

    Wednesday, January 29, 2014

  • I have never understood why people are allowed to smoke in cars, you cant use mobile phones ! Ive seen people lighting up while driving with their knees, i say BAN IT along with putting make up on and doing your hair !

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    chris goulding

    Wednesday, January 29, 2014

  • Oh the irony of the advert at the bottom of this article for Electronic Cigarettes!

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    Anthony Stead

    Wednesday, January 29, 2014

  • Why enact laws which will not be enforced? The police do nothave not the resourcesare not inclinedcannot be bothered to pull up drivers for using mobile phonesnot wearing seatbeltsdisplaying illegal number platesinoperative headlightsfailure to indicate their intentions, etc. etc. etc..

    Report this comment

    beverley

    Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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