Regulations to prohibit smoking in cars when children are present finally passed into law

Wednesday 11 February 2015

MPs have today approved regulations that will forbid anyone smoking in a car when children are present. [1] The measure will enter into force on 1 October 2015. This will go a long way towards protecting vulnerable children from the effects of tobacco smoke exposure which can trigger asthma attacks and other respiratory disorders. According to the British Lung Foundation around 430,000 children are exposed to secondhand smoke in their family car every week. A BLF survey in 2011 found that 86% of children said that they wanted action to be taken to protect them from cigarette smoke when they are in the car. [2]

Prohibiting smoking in cars when children are present has widespread public support from smokers as well as non-smokers. [3]

Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of health charity ASH said:

“Generations of children have grown up protesting about having to put up with smoking in cars. Finally, their call has been heard and from October this year they will be protected by law. The next step is standardised plain packaging. The Government has committed to making this law, but to do so they need to get a move on and lay the regulations before Parliament without further delay.”

“Taken together, the regulations on smoking in cars and standardised packaging will help de-normalise smoking and protect children from this deadly addiction.”



Notes and Links:

Action on Smoking and Health is a health charity working to eliminate the harm caused by tobacco use. For more information see:
ASH receives core funding from Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation.

[1] The regulations form part of the Children and Families Act which gained Royal Assent on 13 March 2014.

[2] British Lung Foundation
BLF/ TNS survey of more than 1,000 children aged 8-15, conducted 20-27 January 2011.

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

Every year, exposure to tobacco smoke among children results in around 300,000 GP visits and nearly 10,000 hospital admissions, costing the NHS over £23m.

[3] A poll conducted in March 2014 by YouGov for ASH found that 77% of adults, including 64% of smokers, agreed that smoking should be prohibited in cars that are carrying children younger than 18 years of age. Total sample size was 12269 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 5th to14th March 2014. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+)


Contact: ASH Office: 020 7404 0242 or Hazel Cheeseman 07754 358 593