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Labour to ban smoking in cars when a child is onboard

Smoking with children onboard could become illegal.

The days of smoking in cars with children onboard could be numbered. The Labour party has proposed an amendment to the Children’s and Families Bill that would make it illegal for anyone to smoke in a vehicle if a child is present.

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham believes a ban on smoking in cars would help ‘protect children from preventable harm’, according to the Daily Mail. The move could become law, depending on the outcome of a vote in the House of Lords on Wednesday 29th of January.

“Adults are free to make their own choices but that often does not apply to children and that’s why society has an obligation to protect them from preventable harm,” Burnam reportedly told the Sunday Times.

The law would apply whether the car windows are open or not. Although there is no specific mention, UK law usually deems a person a child when aged under 18 years old. Drivers caught breaking this particular law would face a £50 fixed penalty notice up to a fine of £2,500.

Tobacco smoke is known to cause a number of disorders including lung cancer and heart disease. Children are particularly susceptible to the dangers, with second-hand smoke increasing the chance of cot death, glue ear and respiratory diseases such as asthma.

Second-hand smoke is said to particularly potent in a vehicle because it circulates around the vehicle, prolonging the exposure time.

The Labour party, which was responsible for banning smoking in pubs back in 2007, has said it will impose the law if it comes to power at the next general election.

This is not the first time such a move has been proposed. Scottish ministers revealed a Smoking (Children in Vehicles) Bill back in May 2013.

Should the government step in, or is this more a matter of good parenting and common sense? Let us know.

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