Anti-smoking measures in England and Wales will be expanded this year.
In order to protect young people from second-hand smoke inhaling, smoking in cars with children will be banned in these countries. It remains to be seen whether the law will be introduced in Northern Ireland and Scotland too.
According to health officials, smoking in car is very dangerous, since the smoke can remain in the air for up to two hours if two windows are not opened. Also, recent studies had found that second-hand smoke can expose non-smokers to lots of health risks.
The smoke emitted by cigarettes contains up to 4,000 chemicals, which in the long run can cause cancer in people. Exposure to second-hand smoke has been associated with asthma, ear problems and chest infections in children.
The ban will come into being starting this Thursday. But the public will not receive fines in the next couple of months since they will have to become accustomed to the new regulation.
The National Police Chiefs’ Council declared in a statement that officials will tale a non-confrontational approach in dealing with the situation in the first three months after the ban enters into effect. For starters, the police will being giving people warnings rather than directly fine them.
Health officials along with anti-smoking groups believe that the measure is one of the most important moves against the bad habit since the general ban on smoking in enclosed public spaces passed in England back in 2007. However, smoking advocates believe that the new law will be ineffective.
Penny Woods, who is the director of the British Lung Foundation, declared that the ban came as a result of the influence other countries across Europe had on England. Many other countries in Europe have adopted similar measures. She said that the ban is a reason to celebrate for all the people who actually care about protecting their children and the generations that are to come from the dangers of smoking.
According to the decree, anyone who starts smoking inside of a vehicle with children under the age of 18 will have to face a $75 fine. And before you ask, yes, the law applies even if the sunroof and windows of the car are open. However, the ban will not come into effect for vehicles that are convertibles if their top is down. In addition, electronic cigarettes are not under the jurisdiction of the legislation.
Photo credits: Flickr