Smoking in cars in the presence of children is to be outlawed under new legislation expected to be passed in December.
The new law is to go into force from October next year, and will make it a criminal offence to smoke in front of children in a vehicle, whether they are your children or not.
Drivers will also face penalties for failing to prevent passengers from lighting up in front of child passengers.
The ban has been expected since February, when ministers backed the proposed change to the statute books, in a bid to reduce the number of children developing respiratory problems as a result of toxic tobacco fumes, which become concentrated in the confined space of a car.
While those who smoke in a car are liable to receive a £60 fine and potential penalty points under the new rules, those who fail to prevent others from smoking in front of under 18s could face fines of up to £10,000, with the smoker themselves liable for an £800 fine, the Daily Mail reports.
Full details of the legislation and potential penalties are expected to be confirmed by ministers in due course.
Public health minister Jane Ellison said: “We want to protect children from the harms associated with second-hand smoke and the Government will proceed with the introduction of regulations to end smoking in private vehicles carrying children in England.”
The news has proved divisive. Campaign group Ash welcomed the ban. Chief executive Deborah Arnott said: “Cars are small tin boxes where concentrations of tobacco smoke can reach dangerous levels very quickly.
“The time has come for it to be illegal to make children breathe in these toxic fumes.”
However, while opinion polls have shown that around 80 per cent of adults are in favour of the ban, smokers’ group Forest called the ban “excessive and unnecessary”.
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