Smoking in cars and other vehicles used for work purposes has been banned since 2007. Anyone caught smoking in a vehicle used for work can be fined up to £200 in fact.

However, in October this year the ban was revised and extended to cover anyone travelling in a car with another person under the age of 18. The law was changed to protect young people from the dangers of second-hand smoking. These dangers include serious diseases such as cancer, bronchitis, meningitis or pneumonia. Being around smoking can also make respiratory conditions, such as asthma, much worse. More than 80% of cigarette smoke is invisible and opening windows does not remove its harmful effect.

This new law applies to all drivers in England and Wales, even those who are 17 and are using a provisional driving licence. Anyone caught smoking in a car with someone who’s under 18 will automatically be fined £50 and this charge applies to whoever is smoking AND the driver if they are not the smoker themselves. Enforcement officers (usually the police) will use their discretion to decide whether to issue a warning or a fixed penalty notice, or whether to refer an offence to court.

According to the website the law applies:

• to any private vehicle that is enclosed wholly or partly by a roof

• when people have the windows or sunroof open, or the air conditioning on

• when someone sits smoking in the open doorway of a vehicle 

The law does not apply to:

• e-cigarettes (vaping)

• a driver who is 17 years old if they are on their own in the car 

• a convertible car with the roof completely down

Vehicles that are also covered by this new law include motorhomes, campervans and caravans when they are being used as a vehicle but don’t apply when they are being used as living accommodation.

For anyone lucky enough to also own a boat, ship or aircraft, these are exempt from this rule but do have their own restrictions, so it’s worth doing your research before you set off!

Sarah Lewis


December 2, 2015