New car smoking ban becomes law
A law banning smoking in vehicles carrying children has come into force in England and Wales. Drivers and passengers who break the law could face a penalty fine of £50 – but police say they are likely to take a non-confrontational approach initially.
Whenever an under-18 is in the car, smokers will still be liable even if the windows are fully down or the sunroof open. The law will not apply to people who are driving in a convertible which has the roof down.
Bans on smoking in cars when children are present already exist in many US states, as well as in parts of Canada and Australia.
Steve White, chairman of the Police Federation, said it would be “extremely challenging” to enforce the ban. He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The reality of the situation is we are struggling to attend burglaries. Should we be focusing on people smoking in cars with children in the cars or should we be focusing on burglaries?”
Mick Creedon, chief constable of Derbyshire Police, told reporters that in his area traffic police would be concentrating on issues to do with death and injury on the roads.
“Mobiles, drink driving, speeding, no seatbelts – we know these contribute to fatalities on the road,” he said. “Smoking in a car doesn’t bring the same danger on the roads. It’s a public health issue.”