From October 1st 2015 it became illegal to smoke inside a private vehicle with someone under the age of 18 present.
From the 1st October 2015 it became illegal to smoke inside a vehicle carrying someone under the age of 18 as part of the government’s initiative to protect children and young people from the effects of second hand smoke. If someone is caught smoking inside a vehicle with young people present, both the smoker and the driver can be fined up to £50. The new law will not apply to 17 year olds who are smoking inside their own vehicle by themselves, those using e-cigarettes and those who smoke in a convertible with the roof down fully.
Smoking in Vehicles is Banned
Campaigners and healthcare professionals have welcomed the new law as a step in the right direction and the first significant advancement since smoking was banned in public spaces in 2007. Professor Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer, said of the ban: “Smoking just a single cigarette in a vehicle exposes children to high levels of air pollutants and cancer-causing chemicals like arsenic, formaldehyde and tar, and people often wrongly assume that opening a window, or letting in fresh air, will lessen the damage.
I hope that all smokers, but particularly drivers and parents, will use the change in law as an opportunity to take the first steps towards quitting.”
Another positive according to British Car Auctions (BCA) is that it will potentially increase the value of second-hand cars as there will not be the lingering smell of cigarette smoke, damage caused by cigarette burns or nicotine staining.
Not everyone has welcomed the move with Simon Clark, director of smokers’ lobby group Forest, denouncing the new law stating that it would be unenforceable. Police have acknowledged that they will take a lenient approach to enforcing the law, however they have stressed that as it is now the law, it will help change attitudes towards smoking in a vehicle accompanied by minors.