The law is changing to protect children and young people from Secondhand smoke in Cars
Friday, 14th August,2015
The law is changing to protect children and young people from the dangers of secondhand smoke in cars.
It will be illegal: to smoke in a vehicle with someone uinder 18, for under 18s to be sold e-cigarettes and for adults to buy cigarettes for under 18s.
Why is the Law ChangingEvery time a child breathes in secondhand smoke, they breathe in thousands of chemicals. This puts them at risk of serious conditions, such as meningitis, cancer and respiratory infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia. It can also make asthma worse.
Secondhand smoke is dangerous for anyone, but children are especially vulnerable, because they breathe more rapidly and have less developed airways, lungs and immune systems. Over 80% of cigarette smoke is invisible and opening windows does not remove its harmful effect.
The law applies to every driver in England and Wales
Rules about smoking in private vehiclesFrom 1 October 2015, private vehicles must be smokefree if they are enclosed, there is more than one person present and one of them is under 18.
So it will be an offence:
- for a person of any age to smoke in a private vehicle that is carrying someone who is under 18
- for a driver (including a provisional driver) not to stop someone smoking in these circumstances
The legislation covers any private vehicle that is enclosed wholly or partly by a roof. A convertible car, or coupe, with the roof completely down and stowed is not enclosed and so isn’t covered by the legislation. But a vehicle with a sunroof open is still enclosed and so is covered by the legislation.
Sitting in the open doorway of an enclosed vehicle is covered by the legislation.
The rules apply to motorhomes, campervans and caravans when they are being used as a vehicle but don’t apply when they are being used as living accommodation.
PenaltiesThe fixed penalty notice fine for both offences is £50. Somebody who commits both offences could get 2 fines. Private vehicles must be carrying more than one person to be smokefree so somebody who is 17 and smoking alone in a private vehicle won’t be committing an offence.
Enforcement officers (usually the police) will use their discretion to decide whether to issue a warning or a fixed penalty notice, or whether to refer an offence to court.
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