New law smoking in cars

Published Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Bromley’s Public Protection team is advising residents that it will be illegal to smoke tobacco in a car or other vehicle with anyone under 18 present from 1 October 2015.

The law is changing to protect children and young people from the dangers of second hand smoke.

Second hand smoke is dangerous for anyone, but children are especially vulnerable, because they breathe more rapidly and have less developed airways, lungs and immune systems. Over 80 per cent of cigarette smoke is invisible and opening windows does not remove its harmful effect. Every time a child breathes in second hand smoke, they breathe in thousands of chemicals. This puts them at risk of serious conditions including meningitis, cancer, bronchitis and pneumonia and it can also make asthma worse.

Once the law comes into force in England and Wales, both the driver and the smoker could be fined £50. It will include those aged 17 and those with a provisional driving licence, though not if the driver is 17 years old and is on their own in the car.

Any private vehicle that is enclosed wholly or partly by a roof will be subject to the law. It still applies if people have the windows or sunroof open, have the air conditioning on, or if they sit in the open doorway of the vehicle. The law won’t apply to a convertible car with the roof completely down.

Council Officers and Police are expected to enforce the law to protect young people from harm, handing out £50 penalty notice fines where applicable.

Executive Member for Public Protection and Safety, Councillor Kate Lymer said: “This rule makes sense when you consider the risk to our young people of breathing in second hand smoke. We know this is dangerous for everyone, but children have no choice when travelling in a car and they are especially vulnerable into the bargain. We hope that most people will sensibly choose to abide by this new law when it comes into operation this autumn.”

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