U.K. – According to a new anti-smoking measure applied in England, smokers will not be able to light up their cigarettes while driving with children inside their cars. Police officers are commanded to fine people that do not follow the rule. The ban was approved on Thursday and will start to be enforced after three months following a “warning” preliminary phase.
Public health officials performed an experiment that advertised about the harm of second-hand smokers. According to their study, smoking in cars with people or children exceeds about 100 times safety guidelines. The officials also claimed that second-hand smoke can cause several health complications.
“Among very small children, it’s linked to sudden infant death syndrome, and as the child gets older it impairs development of the lungs, so asthma is more common,” Hazel Cheeseman, member of the group Action on Smoking and Health, told to CBS News.
Public health officials and anti-smoking groups claimed that this measure is one of the most important since a general ban on smoking in workplaces and enclosed public spaces was introduced in 2007.
Smokers who do not abide orders and smoke inside a car with children under 18 will be facing fines in England and Wales. The penalty fee will be 50 pounds ($75), and drivers will have to prevent other passengers from smoking if they are accompanied by young people.
Drivers can not smoke even with their windows or their sunroof open. However, convertible cars are not involved in the ban, as long as the top is down and properly stowed.
“Today is truly a cause for celebration for all those who care about protecting the health of generations to come,” said Penny Woods, chief of the British Lung Foundation, as CBS News reported.
As first step, people will have to adapt to the new anti-smoking regulation. Police officers are not expected to issue a big amount of fines until this happens. To do so, the National Police Chiefs’ Council said in a statement that officers would take “and educational, advisory and non-confrontational approach for the first three months of the ban,” as CBS News stated. This measure means that people will be warned instead of fined.
In addition, more than 430,000 children are exposed to second-hand smoke in cars per week, according to the British Lung Foundation. Second-hand smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals, that are associated with the risk of developing cancer.
Source: CBS News