Don’t smoke in a car when children are present?

MP’s are shortly to have a free vote on an amendment to the Children and Families bill to ban smoking in cars whilst there are children present. The bill is designed to protect children from the harmful effects of secondary smoke inhalation.

The amendment has certainly found favour with GPs and senior health care experts, with over 700 signing a recent letter published in the British Medical Journal. The letter urges GP to back the ban, which would affect drivers in England.

Unsurprisingly, the letter points out that smoking in cars exposes children to dangerously high levels of tobacco smoke and are a “major cause of ill health in children”

Experts argue that as children have smaller underdeveloped lungs and narrow airways, they struggle to deal with the high concentration of smoke.

Opponents to the amendments want to challenge the proposed law, on the basis of preserving personal freedoms and the right of an individual to smoke where they want in a private place.

If the bill is passed, smoking in cars with children present could become a criminal offence in the same way as not wearing a seat belt or using a mobile phone whilst driving or a civil offence punishable by a fine. How effectively this law could be enforced remains open to debate.

What do you think?