The Law Has Changed For Smoking In Vehicles
Update To The Law On Smoking In Vehicles With Anyone Under The Age Of 18
From the 1st of October 2015, it has been made illegal to smoke in any vehicle when in the presence of someone under the age of 18.
The Law Explained
As of the 1st of October 2015, to protect younger people and children from the dangers of second hand smoke, it has been made illegal to smoke in a vehicle if anyone under 18 years of age is present. If caught, both the driver and the smoker could face a £50 penalty. This law applies to every driver throughout England and Wales and includes any enclosed private vehicle - regardless of windows/sunroof being open, the air conditioning being switched on or anyone smoking with the door open. This also applies to 17 year old drivers even if they still hold a provisional driving licence. However, the law does not apply to a 17 year old driver smoking on his own in a vehicle, a convertible car with its roof down or to any e-cigarettes.
Facts About Second Hand Smoke
Second hand smoke is made up of two types of tobacco smoke, that which is produced from the burning of the tip and smoke exhaled from the smoker. The smoke from the burning tip is 4 times more hazardous than that inhaled by the smoker. Second hand smoke can contain more than 4000 different types of chemicals, more than 250 of which are known to be harmful while around 69 are known to be cancer causing. 85% of tobacco smoke is invisible to the human eye and smoke particles can build up on clothes and surfaces. The smoke can also stay in the air for around two and a half hours, even if you open a window. Children that are exposed to second hand smoke are of a higher risk of developing respiratory conditions such as asthma and chest infections, it is also linked to cot death in babies. When smoking during a car journey, smoke levels can reach to almost three times higher than the European recommended air pollution standard.
Is There A Safe Level For Second Hand Smoke?
In short, the answer is no. Even just inhaling smoke once, you have still exposed yourself or others to hundreds of harmful chemicals which could have an impact on yours/their health. The best way to deal with this problem is to refrain from smoking altogether in and around enclosed areas where children and others will be. This will prevent any smoke lingering in the air and smoke particles from building up on surfaces.
As from the 1st of October, smoking in a vehicle when a young person or child is present, regardless of if the windows are down, the air conditioning on or the door being open will be illegal. Not only will it carry a £50 fine for the smoker and the driver, there are also all of the health risks to your passengers, so be sensible and don't get caught out!