It will be illegal to smoke in vehicles in England with someone under 18 present from 1st October 2015. This is a crucial step in protecting the health and wellbeing of children and young people. Anyone who breaks the law (both the driver and the smoker) could be fined £50.
Secondhand smoke can be dangerous to children’s health. In 2012, 26% of 11-15 year olds reported being exposed to secondhand smoke in their family’s car and 30% in someone else’s car.
Every time a child breathes in secondhand smoke, they breathe in thousands of chemicals. This puts them at risk of serious conditions including meningitis, cancer, bronchitis and pneumonia. It can also make asthma worse. Find out more about the new law here.
Research shows that smoking in vehicles can result in the build-up of high levels of secondhand smoke which can persist even when windows are open or a ventilation system is being used.
To raise awareness of this change in the law the Department of Health will be working with Public Health England in the coming months.
As a childcare professional who may be driving with children in your car, and working with parents and families that are; we would like to ask you raise awareness of this change in the law. Working together, we can ensure people are more aware and more likely to act.