LONDON (TIP): Britain on February 11 banned drivers in England from smoking in their cars if they are carrying children as passengers.
The move will become a law on October 1 and follows a similar ban in Wales.
Scotland is also considering introducing a ban. Anyone found flouting the law in England could be fined £50.
The regulations were passed in the Commons after 342 MPs voted in favour of legislation while just 74 voted against. Parliament therefore approved regulations which will make smoking in cars carrying children illegal.
Public health minister Jane Ellison said “Three million children are exposed to second hand smoke in cars, putting their health at risk. We know that many of them feel embarrassed or frightened to ask adults to stop smoking which is why the regulations are an important step in protecting children from the harms of second hand smoke”. The regulations will not apply to a driver on their own in a car.
Second-hand smoke is particularly harmful to children as they breathe more rapidly and have less developed airways. Children being exposed to second hand smoke results in more than 300,000 GP consultations and 9,500 hospital admissions every year. The government estimates that 3 million children in England are exposed to second hand smoke in their family car, which puts them at risk of serious conditions, including respiratory infections and meningitis and triggering asthma.
A survey by the British Lung Foundation found that 86% of children who are exposed to smoking in cars would like the smoker to stop, yet only 31% actually feel able to ask them to do so.