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Smoking in cars with children will be illegal from Thursday


Smoking in cars with children will be illegal from Thursday

Banned: smoking in cars with children present

From tomorrow, motorists could be hit with a £50 fine for lighting up a cigarette on the school run.

Under new laws, which come into force from October 1, it will be illegal to smoke in a car when children are present.

Anyone failing to comply with the ban, which would see both the driver and the smoker penalised, could be hit with a £50 fixed penalty.

The law is changing to protect young people from the effects of second-hand smoke, which can put them at risk of serious conditions including meningitis, cancer, bronchitis and pneumonia.

Announcing the ban earlier this year, public health minister Jane Ellison said: "Three million children are exposed to secondhand smoke in cars, putting their health at risk.

"We know that many of them feel embarrassed or frightened to ask adults to stop smoking which is why the regulations are an important step in protecting children from the harms of secondhand smoke."

The law applies to every driver in England and Wales, including those aged 17 and those with a provisional driving licence, but the law does will not apply if the driver is 17 years old and is on their own in the car.

Drivers and smokers will still fall foul of the law if they have the windows or sunroof open, have the air conditioning on, or if they sit in the open doorway of the vehicle, but the law will not apply to a convertible car with the roof completely down.

Smoking of e-cigarettes in cars with children present will still allowed under the new regulations.

However, the new legislation has been called into question after research revealed a huge majority of drivers do not believe that the smoking ban will be effectively enforced.

An RAC survey has found that 92 percent of British motorists feel the prospect of effective enforcement, which includes a £50 fine, is unlikely.

RAC spokesman Simon Williams said: "It is worrying that nine in 10 motorists have concerns about the extent to which the new law is likely to be enforced. This is perhaps well-founded as traffic police officer numbers have fallen by nearly a quarter between 2010 and 2014 across forces in England and Wales, so it is hard to see how people flouting the law are going to be caught.

"The new ban joins a raft of other laws that have been introduced in recent years such as making it illegal to undertake or hog the middle lane of a motorway. But without sufficient enforcement there is a real danger that these laws will quickly be forgotten by a large proportion of the motoring population."

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