A proposal to ban people smoking in cars when children are present has been welcomed by health leaders.
The Government launched ‘Smoking in private vehicles carrying children – consultation on proposed regulations to be made under the Children and Families Act 2014’ last week, to find out opinion on the subject.
Under the proposed regulations, existing smoke–free legislation as set out in the Health Act 2006 would be extended so it would be an offence to smoke or to fail to prevent smoking in a private vehicle with someone under the age of 18 present.
Dr Ben Milton, chairman of NHS North Derbyshire CCG, who is based at Darley Dale Surgery, said: “The dangerous effects of active and passive smoking are well known to all.
“Therefore, anything that minimises the exposure of children to harmful tobacco smoke has to be welcomed.”
The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (EIEH) is also backing the proposals.
Principle policy officer for EIEH, Ian Gray, said: “Polls have shown that the vast majority of people already understand that the confined enclosed space of a motor vehicle is one of the worst places to smoke and the last place that you would want your children to be exposed to other people’s smoking.
“It can be anticipated therefore that the adoption of this law will act as a further deterrent and that the need for enforcement action will be limited.”
The majority of readers commenting on the Mercury’s Facebook page were in favour of banning smoking in cars with children.
Wez Harrop said: “Should of been done years ago! I’d ban it all together.
“Don’t see the difference in using a mobile phone in your car or eating food, to trying to find your cigarette – then your lighter – putting it in your mouth – lighting it – then flicking it out your car.”
Coral Thorpe added: “It’s disgraceful to smoke anywhere near children.”
Shell N Phil commented: “Yes they should ban smoking in cars with children present ... we obviously need a “nanny state” to look out for the welfare of children when their parents aren’t willing to.”
However Richard Thorpe questioned how the police were going to enforce the new regulation.
He said: “Police forces across the country have had their budgets cut drastically and each year they are being cut even more.”
Sarah Marshall commented: “I think everyone has the right to do as they see fit.”
The Government consultation will run until August 27.