Government Champions Smoking Ban In England For 2015
The Government says smoking in private vehicles when a child is present should be banned from October 2015. The proposal relates to England, but ministers in Scotland and Wales – who decide such issues independently - are considering a comparable ban.
If the law is passed in Parliament for England, it would ensure that a driver is fined for smoking - or failing to stop a passenger smoking - when a person of under 18 is present.
England would then be the second country in Europe to impose such a ban, after Cyprus.
The Government's proposal recognises that passive smoking has health implications for children. The World Health Organisation says its effects include: increased susceptibility to respiratory tract infections such as pneumonia and bronchitis , the worsening of asthma, middle ear disease, decreased lung function and sudden infant death syndrome.
Minister Discusses Smoking Ban In Private Vehicles
Public Health Minister, Jane Ellison, says: “Second-hand smoke is a real threat to children’s health and we want them to grow up free from the risks of smoking”.
“The only effective way to protect children is to prevent them breathing second hand smoke, and our plans to stop smoking in cars carrying children will help us to do this”.
She concludes: “We’ll now debate the regulations in parliament”.
Despite the health benefits there are practical concerns. The RAC's Pete Williams explains that: “While it is undoubtedly the right thing to do in principle in terms of children’s health, it may be overly optimistic to think it will be enforced on a widespread basis”.
Furthermore, the Daily Mail says that pro-smoking group Forest called the ban a “gross intrusion on people’s privacy” and said that enforcing it would be a waste of police time.