Bid to ban smoking in cars in front of kids backed by charities

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​Holyrood bill could see motorists fined if they light up in front of kids

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16th December 2014 by Graham Martin 0 Comments

Charities have backed moves to ban smoking in cars while there are children in them.

Jim Hume, Liberal Democrat South of Scotland MSP, has launched a bill at Holyrood which, he says, will give kids the “healthiest start in life”.

Any new legislation would apply to smoking in a vehicle when an under-18 is present and could lead to a £100 for the offender.

ASH Scotland, British Lung Foundation (BLF) and the British Medical Association (BMA), backed the plan.

Sheila Duffy, chief executive of ASH Scotland, said: “We support the bill. It is achievable and has the potential to protect thousands of our children from the dangers of breathing second-hand tobacco smoke.

We all know second-hand smoke is bad and is particularly dangerous for children: they've got smaller lungs and breathe faster than adults

“A public consultation in Scotland on prohibiting smoking in cars with children received responses that were 84% in favour.

“We believe it can be effectively enforced by the police and that having the legislation focus on cars with children bypasses concerns over interference in people’s private lives. Arguing that adults should be allowed to harm themselves is one thing, but leaves us with the clear principle that they should not cause harm to children.

“We must take the opportunity to introduce a vital measure that will help reduce people’s exposure to high concentrations of a toxic substance in very enclosed spaces.”

Ruaraidh Dobson from the BLF said: "I think this is a very sensible, very moderate measure, that's been shown to protect children from dangerous second-hand smoke.

"We all know second-hand smoke is bad and is particularly dangerous for children: they've got smaller lungs and breathe faster than adults."

Dr Peter Bennie, chairman of BMA Scotland, said: "Smoking in vehicles is a source of concentrated second hand smoke and as children are still developing they are at particular risk.

"The evidence for extending smoke-free legislation is compelling and we would encourage the Scottish Parliament to support the introduction of a ban on smoking in vehicles with children present."

Mr Hume, who revealed the Labour Party is backing the bid, said: "My bill to stop smoking in cars whilst children are present is now formally laid at parliament.

"This means that the legislation could be in place before the next Scottish Parliament elections."