Doctors call for total ban on smoking in cars

March 24, 2010 | By | In News

Top doctors' pressure group calls for all-out ban to protect children from passive smoking.

A leading doctors’ group is pushing hard to get smoking banned in all cars. The Royal College of Physicians is calling for the move in advance of a major review of anti-smoking laws in England .

At present, smoking is prohibited in company cars and vans under present laws that restrict lighting up at work. But the RCP wants the ban extended to all cars in an attempt to improve children’s health. Some 300,000 child visits to GPs each year are directly caused by passive smoking, as youngsters suffer conditions including asthma and bacterial meningitis. Such visits – some of which result in children ending up in hospital, cost the health service over £22m annually.

The BBC reports that a number of medical pressure groups have in the past supported moves to ban smoking in cars where children are passengers. But the RCP wants to take things further and ban smoking in all vehicles. This organisation not only wants children to be kept out of situations where they must endure passive smoking – it also wants them to be shielded from the sight of parents and other adults smoking.

The call comes in advance of a three-year review into smoking in public and in other spaces, which will mark the introduction of a ban on smoking in enclosed public spaces that came into force three years ago. Ideally, the doctors would want to ban smoking at home – but they accept that this would be unenforceable.

However, they believe that smoking in cars would be something that the majority of drivers would tolerate – it would also be something that the police could deal with by fixed penalty and possibly also points on the driver’s licence.

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