Car smoking ban given the go-ahead
19th Feb 2014
Smoking in cars when children are passengers is set to be made a criminal offence in England by the UK government, according to a Downing Street source.
Recently MPs voted in favour of an amendment to the Children and Families Bill, which empowers but does not compel ministers to bring in the ban in England.
Liberal Democrat Health Minister Norman Lamb said that he hoped a ban would be established when he spoke to BBC Radio 4’s World Tonight programme on Monday.
He said the majority of 269 was “so decisive that I think there’s a very clear mandate now to get on and legislate, but we will have that discussion.”
He added: “You have to ask yourself the question, ‘How important is the liberty that we’re infringing here?’ The liberty to smoke in your car in front of a child doesn’t seem to me that important and protecting a child’s health does seem to me to be incredibly important.”
The House of Lords passed the amendment last month. On Monday the bill returned to the Commons for debate.
After the debate, Shadow Public Health Minister Luciana Berger commented: “This is a great victory for child health, which will benefit hundreds of thousands of young people across our country. It is a matter of child protection, not adult choice.”
She added: “The will of Parliament has been clearly expressed today and this must be respected.
“Ministers now have a duty to bring forward regulations so that we can make this measure a reality and put protections for children in place as soon as possible.”
Penny Woods, Chief Executive of the British Lung Foundation, said: “Having campaigned on this issue for many years, we’re absolutely delighted that MPs have backed the ban on smoking in cars carrying children. This could prove a great leap forward for the health of our nation’s children.”
Not everyone was so happy, however. Simon Clark, Director of smoker’ lobby group Forest, said smoking in cars with children was “inconsiderate”, but there was “a line the state shouldn’t cross when it comes to dictating how people behave in private places”.