Smokefree cars welcomed to protect children

Tobacco Free Futures has welcomed a ban on smoking in vehicles carrying people aged under 18, which becomes law in England and Wales on 1 October.

Secondhand smoke from cigarettes contains over 4,500 toxic chemicals and 80% of it is invisible. The toxic mix is responsible for a range of serious health problems including bronchitis, asthma and glue ear, and is especially dangerous to children.

The change in law means that private vehicles must be smokefree if they are enclosed, there is more than one person present and one of them is under 18. The fixed penalty notice fine for offences is £50.

In addition, it also became illegal for adults to buy tobacco on behalf of someone under 18 (proxy purchasing.) The proxy purchasing rule will also apply to electronic cigarettes. A separate regulation will also make it illegal for young people under the age of 18 to buy e-cigarettes.

A Public Health England campaign, including TV and radio adverts, will help make the public aware of the change in law. It comes into force the same day as Stoptober, Public Health England’s 28-day mass-quitting challenge which also starts 1 October.

Andrea Crossfield, Chief Executive of Tobacco Free Futures which co-ordinated the campaign for smokefree cars in the North West said:

“We have campaigned for smokefree cars for five years, and we hope the change in the law along with the extra information and support available will lead to healthier choices by people across North West to keep their cars smokefree.

“Smoky cars, packed full of toxic tobacco chemicals, are especially deadly to children because they have smaller lungs, faster breathing and less developed immune systems. Secondhand smoke in cars is dangerous and can be up to 11 times the levels you would find in a smoky room. Our advice is to keep your family safe by keeping your car smokefree.”

Smokers are encouraged to use the ban as the perfect opportunity to kick the habit for good as Stoptober also starts on 1 October. Last year over 32,000 smokers across the North West quit as part of the campaign. Free support includes texts, social media coaching from celebrities as well as local stop smoking services on-hand to provide face-to-face advice.

If you are thinking about quitting you are four times more likely to quit with the help of a NHS stop smoking service advisor who can offer you free support and advice. Contact your local stop smoking service for more details.

Find out more about the Stoptober campaign by visiting www.nhs.uk/smokefree