Parliamentary vote ends smoking in cars with children following local campaign

Parliamentary vote ends smoking in cars with children following local
campaign St Helens Council has welcomed new laws to outlaw smoking in cars carrying children. The parliamentary vote follows pioneering work carried out in St Helens two years ago as part of the voluntary Smoke Free Homes and Cars initiative, in which hundreds of local people pledged their support.

Coinciding with the vote, Public Health England has launched the
‘Smokefree’ campaign to highlight the hidden dangers that second-hand smoke in homes and cars can cause to children’s health.

The government estimates that three 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, meningitis and
triggering asthma.

A survey by the British Lung Foundation found that 86 per cent of children
who are exposed to smoking in cars would like the smoker to stop; yet only 31 per cent actually feel able to ask them to do so.

Liz Gaulton, Director of Public Health for St Helens Council said:

“The passing of regulations to make smoking in cars carrying under 18s
illegal is a significant victory for protecting children’s health from
second-hand smoke. Smoking just a single cigarette in a car exposes
children to high levels of air pollutants and cancer causing chemicals like
arsenic, formaldehyde and tar.

“Children are least equipped to speak out to protest against second-hand
smoke, so I welcome this legislation to end smoking in cars when they are
present.”

Cllr Andy Bowden, Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing said:

“It’s wonderful to see the government follow the lead of St Helens Council.
With the Smoke Free Homes and Cars scheme, we have shown parents the dangers of smoking and brought to life that no matter how careful you are, children still breathe in harmful poisons. A completely smoke free home and car is a strong and positive step towards protecting the health of our children.”

The law will come into force on 1 October 2015, and people failing to
comply could face a £50 fixed penalty notice.

Smokers can search ‘smokefree’ or visit www.nhs.uk/smokefree for a range of free support and quitting advice, including the ‘smokefree app’ and Quit Kit.

You can still pledge your support and receive a free Smoke Free kit,
helping to protect your family’s health in your home and car. Details and
helpful links can be found on the St Helens Council website at
http://www.sthelens.gov.uk/smokefree.