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Child car smoking ban proposed today in ParliamentBack

ChildSmokingBanA proposal to ban smoking in cars carrying children will be put to a vote in the House of Lords later today.

The Labour plan will see Labour peers table an amendment to the ‘Children and Families Bill’ and will detail their proposal for England.

The Labour party has insisted that if the new law is not passed in the vote today then it will be included in their manifesto for the next general election.

The Department of Health cited educational campaigns as a better way to target smokers and dissuade them from smoking around children.

Following legislation in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, smoking was banned in workplaces and most enclosed public spaces in England in July 2007. This law included smoking in vehicles used for work purposes.

The amendment being put forward would make it an offence for drivers of a private vehicle to smoke when a child is present.

In an interview for Sky News, Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said: “When it comes to improving the health of children, we are duty bound to consider any measure that might make a difference.

“Adults are free to make their own choices but that often does not apply to children and that’s why society has an obligation to protect them from preventable harm.

“Evidence from other countries shows that stopping smoking in the confined space of a car carrying children can prevent damage to their health and has strong public support.”

Campaigners have cited that the developing lungs of children and much more vulnerable to the effects of smoke which can become concentrated in cars, and that it increases their risk of illnesses such as asthma and colds, to lung cancer.

But Director Simon Clark from the pro-smoking group said: “Legislation is completely unnecessary. Most adult smokers accept that smoking in a car with children present is inconsiderate and the overwhelming majority choose not to.

Forest continued to outline how banning smoking in private vehicles would be almost impossible to enforce, not to mention being a serious invasion of people’s private space.

Calls to prohibit smoking in private vehicles when children are present have been raised in Parliament on several occasions since the 2007 ban came into effect.

The Labour amendment before the Lords later was initially proposed by Croydon North MP Steve Reed last April 2013 and was backed by organisations including the British Heart Foundation, Asthma UK and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

 

Posted by Leana Kell on 29/01/2014