Ending smoking in cars with children a step closer

Tuesday 15 July 2014

ASH welcomes the launch today of the consultation on the draft regulations to prohibit smoking in cars with children under 18 present. [1]

There is widespread support for a ban on smoking in cars with children, both among the public and parliamentarians.  A poll conducted in March by YouGov for ASH found that 77% of adults agreed that smoking should be banned in cars that are carrying children younger than 18 years of age. [2]

And in Parliament, the measure was approved by a vote of 376 to 107, a majority of 269 – much stronger support than that for the 2007 smokefree public places law.  The measure also has the support of the Prime Minister. [3]

The Children and Families Act gave the Government the power to bring in regulations governing smoking in cars with children present.  [4]

Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of Action on Smoking and Health, said:

“Cars are small tin boxes where concentrations of tobacco smoke can reach dangerous levels very quickly. As David Cameron himself has said, the time has come for it to be illegal to make children breathe in these toxic fumes. Laws stopping smoking in cars with children are popular with the public, with parliament and with children and we urge the government to bring them into force before the next election.”



[1]  Proposals to make private vehicles smokefree when carrying children, gov.uk

[2]  YouGov 2014 Total sample size was 12269 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 5th to 14th March 2014.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

[3] A record of how MPs and Lords voted is available here.

Shortly before the vote the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said that David Cameron thought that “the time has come” for a new offence of exposing children to smoke in vehicles (source: The Guardian).

[4] The Children and Families Act gained Royal Assent on 13 March 2014.

For the risk to children from exposure to tobacco smoke in cars, see for example:
Semple S et al. Secondhand smoke in cars: assessing children’s potential exposure during typical journey conditions.Tobacco Control 2012; 21: 578-583