Starting on October 1, 2015, it will be illegal to smoke in a car (or other vehicles) with anyone under 18 present. The law is changing to protect children and young people from the dangers of secondhand smoke.
Both the driver and the smoker in the car could be fined as much as $80. The law applies to every driver in England and Wales, including those aged 17 and those with a provisional driving licence. The law does not apply if the driver is 17-years-old and is on their own in the car.
According to the U.K. Department of Health, every time a child breathes in secondhand smoke, they breathe in thousands of chemicals. This puts them at risk of serious conditions including meningitis, cancer, bronchitis, and pneumonia. It can also make asthma worse.
The law applies to any private vehicle that is enclosed wholly or partly by a roof. It still applies if people have the windows or sunroof open, have the air conditioning on, or if they sit in the open doorway of the vehicle. The law won’t apply to a convertible car with the roof completely down. The rules also won’t apply to boats, ships, and aircraft, as they all have their own rules. Work vehicles and public transportation are also not affected, as they already are covered by previous smoke-free legislation.
“Secondhand smoke is dangerous for anyone, but children are especially vulnerable, because they breathe more rapidly and have less developed airways, lungs and immune systems. Over 80% of cigarette smoke is invisible and opening windows does not remove its harmful effect.”
Again, to reiterate, if there is anyone under the age of 18 in a car, no one else is allowed to smoke in that car. However, these rules do not apply to e-cigarettes.
As of October 1, 2015, some other changes concerning cigarettes in the U.K. are as follows. It will become illegal for “retailers to sell electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) or e-liquids to someone under 18.” It will also become illegal for “adults to buy (or try to buy) tobacco products or e-cigarettes for someone under 18.”
— Short Family Agency (@NJinsurance) August 17, 2015
Excellent Move: New UK Law Bans Smoking in Cars with Underaged Passengers http://t.co/tjbn3kFUYP
— Eleanor (@eleanorgillian) February 19, 2015
I wish the cab drivers in the UK had the same “No smoking” law applied to them as the ones in New York. The cabs in Birmingham smell awful.
— Phen (@LifeofPhen) August 24, 2014
What do you think about this new no-smoking law? Do you think this is something that should be legislated in the United States?
[UPDATE 12/29/15: SMOKING BAN IN CARS WITH CHILDREN NOW SPREADING ACROSS UNITED STATES]
[Photo by Bruno Vincent/Getty Images]