The official ban on smoking in cars with children came into force today in England and Wales. Now any driver or passenger who is caught lighting up in their car with children present will be breaking the law and could face a fine of £50.
The law will apply to those caught smoking in the car with anyone under the age of 18, this will apply even if the windows are down, the sunroof is open, or the air conditioning is on.
The only time the law won’t apply is with a convertible car that has its roof fully down (see pic), or a driver that is 17 years old and are in their own car. The law also does not apply to e-cigarettes.
The law does not yet apply to drivers in Scotland but the Scottish Government is considering bringing in their own laws in the near future. Northern Ireland has said they would rather wait to see how effective the ban is elsewhere before they decide if they are going to do the same.
The new law has been welcomed by most people particularly groups such as the British Lung Foundation who have said that thousands of children are exposed to second hand smoke in cars on a daily basis.
There has been some worry about how the police are going to enforce this law with so many cuts to forces across the country. Police officers who spot anyone smoking with children in the car will have the power to pull them over, but many are asking how this will be viable with resources having been cut so dramatically over the last five years.
The new law came into force at 00:01 today and anyone who now smokes with children in the car will be fined.
For more information on the new smoking ban please visit – www.gov.uk/smoking
By Jenna Niblock