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Countdown to ban on smoking in cars with children begins

A new campaign to mark the countdown to the ban on smoking in cars carrying children under 18 coming into force in Wales started yesterday.

It will include outdoor advertising and radio advertisements and will highlight that smoking in any vehicle carrying children under 18 will be illegal from October 1.

The latest research shows a sizeable minority of young people are still being exposed to second-hand tobacco smoke in cars – 17% of children from poorer families report that smoking was allowed in their car compared to 7% of those from more affluent families.

Last year the Welsh Government announced proposals to change the law and held a consultation about the new regulations. 86% of those who responded agreed with the proposals for a ban.

The new law, which is also coming into force in England, means:

  • From 1 October, it will be illegal to smoke in private vehicles when someone under the age of 18 is present;
  • A private vehicle must become smoke-free if it is enclosed; there is more than one person present and one of them is under the age of 18;
  • It will be an offence for a person of any age to smoke in a private vehicle when someone under the age of 18 is present or for a driver, including a provisional driver, not to stop someone smoking in these circumstances;
  • The rules do not apply to e-cigarettes.
  • The law does not apply when someone under the age of 18 is smoking and is the only person in the vehicle;
  • Police and local authorities will enforce the regulations.

Health and Social Services Minister Mark Drakeford said:

“Smoking in cars poisons children. Children are particularly at risk from second-hand smoke, which has been linked to a range of health issues, from sudden infant death syndrome, lung and ear infections and asthma.

“This danger is heightened when they are in the confined space of a car and can’t escape the fumes. There is evidence that even with windows open, the level of toxic chemicals remains high. By not smoking in your car you are protecting your children’s health.

“This is an opportunity for some people to change their lives for the better. With one less place to smoke, there’s one more reason to quit, and we will continue to provide support and advice for those who want to achieve this.”

Joseph Carter, head of the British Lung Foundation Wales said:

“Having campaigned on this issue for many years, we’re absolutely delighted the ban comes into action in October.

“The new law means that hundred of thousands of children will be saved from passive smoking in cars, which will benefit their health greatly. The harm caused by second-hand smoke to children is irreparable. Once the damage has been done, their lungs will never fully recover.

“Just as parents buckle up their children to keep them safe in the car, having a smoke-free car should be equally as important in protecting children’s health now and in the future.

“We look forward to seeing what other plans the Welsh Government has in store to help ensure the health of the nation is a top priority”

Jamie Matthews, deputy chief executive of ASH Wales Cymru, added:

“We are pleased to see this important law now coming into force and we fully support the public awareness campaign. As with the smoke free public places law, this is a popular measure that will largely be self-enforcing.

“Children do not have a choice when adults are smoking around them. Concentrations of smoke inside a car can reach dangerous levels very quickly and exposure to second-hand smoke is a substantial threat to children's health. This ban is popular with the public and we look forward to it being enforced to protect children.

“Together with the forthcoming regulations on standardised packaging these regulations will help to de-normalise smoking and discourage children from taking up the deadly habit.”

To find out more about the changes to the law and for help to quit smoking go towww.freshstartwales.co.uk 
With one less place to smoke, there’s one more reason to quit. Sign up to Stoptober at www.stopsmokingwales.com/stoptober

 

Channel website: http://gov.wales

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