UK law to make it illegal to smoke in a car with under 18s

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The UK law on smoking in cars changes on 1st October – making it illegal to smoke in a vehicle if anyone under the age of 18 is present. This is intended to protect children and young people from secondhand smoke.

Both the driver and the smoker could be fined £50, and this applies to every driver in England and Wales, even those aged 17 and those driving on a provisional licencee. However, if a driver is 17 and alone in a car, they are permitted to smoke.

The regulations were passed in the House of Commons after 342 MPs voted in favour of legislation while just 74 voted against.

The new law will apply to any private vehicle that is enclosed wholly or partly by a roof – even if the windows or sunroof are open, the A/C is on, or if you’re sitting in the open doorway of a vehicle. But, if travelling in a convertible with the roof fully down, smoking will be allowed.

The new ruling will not apply in Scotland, but the country is said to be considering following suit depending on how the implementation works out throughout its neighbours.

Chief Medical Officer, Dame Sally Davies, said: “Children breathe faster than adults so they are much more exposed to the dangers of second-hand smoke. Their airways, lungs and immune systems are still developing so are much more at risk from harm. We want children to grow up free from harm and we need parents to understand why smoking in vehicles is so dangerous. 80% of smoke is invisible so even if you think you are being careful you cannot see where the smoke is going”.

For more information, visit Gov.uk’s advice on the new legislation on tobacco, e-cigarettes and smoking. And, when searching Liftshare.com for a match, be sure to check the Driver’s icons to see whether or not they smoke/allow smoking in their vehicle.

Photo credit: Pixabay

Author Lex Barber

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