The health risks of exposure to second-hand smoke (SHS) are well established and in the UK it has been against the law to smoke in vehicles used for work since July 2007. In February 2015 Parliament passed regulations to make it illegal to smoke in a private vehicle when someone under the age of 18 is present. The new rules will come into force on 1st October 2015 and both the driver and the smoker could face a £50 fixed penalty notice. The regulations have been introduced as part of a package of measures under the Children and Families Act 2014.
Public Health England has committed to running a campaign to raise awareness of the upcoming legislation and encourage voluntary behaviour change before the legislation comes into force.
A key reason for the law being introduced is that levels of second-hand smoke in cars can be extremely high because of the restricted area in which the smoke is circulated and can reach levels far higher than those experienced in buildings. According to the British Lung Foundation, more than 430,000 children are exposed to second-hand smoke in cars each week. Public opinion is very favourable in regards to making it illegal to smoke in private vehicles with children present. 77% of adults in Great Britain support regulations to stop smoking in cars with children present, including 63% of smokers and 86% of children aged 8-15 years old. For more information please visit www.gov.uk/smokefreecars