From the 5th December 2016 smoking was banned in cars carrying children aged 18 and under. The new legislation will mean fines of up to £100 for anyone who lights up in a car where there is a child as a passenger.
MSPs unanimously voted to introduce the ban in December last year. The Smoking Prohibition (Children in Motor Vehicles) Bill was introduced by Liberal Democrat MSP Jim Hume whose mother died of cancer caused by second hand smoking. He told MSPs that the concentrations of harmful tobacco particles in the confines of a car were far greater than from smoke from a bar, where smoking has already been banned. He added that:
“Around 60,000 children are put in this position each week in Scotland.” “This legislation will, of course, address that situation and help to ensure that all our young people have the best and healthiest start to life.”
Sheila Duffy, chief executive of health charity Ash Scotland said:
“Children have smaller airways, breathe faster, and their lungs and immune systems are still developing so they are especially vulnerable to health damage from second-hand smoke.”
“Toxic particles can reach harmful concentrations within one minute of lighting a cigarette inside a car, and this law builds on the success of Scotland’s smoke – free public places legislation to offer even more protection for children, who often don’t have a choice about breathing in second-hand smoke.”
“It is also an important step towards the Scottish Government’s vision for achieving a tobacco-free generation, putting smoking out of fashion, by 2034”.
Dr Peter Fowlie, Officer for Scotland for the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Care said:
“Scottish Parliament’s move to ban smoking in cars carrying children not only protects children from terrible conditions linked to second-hand smoke such as bronchiolitis, pneumonia and asthma, but also sends a strong signal that smoking is not cool-it kills”.
But smoker’s group Forest have argued that the new legislation represents a worrying intrusion into people’s private lives. Simon Clark their director said:
“We have always felt that legislation is very heavy handed and completely unnecessary as the vast majority of smokers are considerate and do know that it is not a good idea to smoke in a very confined space like a car with children present, and they simply don’t do it.”
He said the ban on smoking in cars with children was important for the anti-smoking lobby as it is the first time that smoking has been banned in a private place. He added:
“This is a stepping stone towards further prohibition.”