Latest Public Sector News

11.02.14

Smoking ban in cars gets MPs vote

MPs have voted in favour of introducing a ban on smoking in cars with children as passengers.

Although the amendment to the Children and Families Bill empowers rather than forces the government to bring forward a ban, there are strong indications that it will do so.

The vote was 376 to 107, and also gives the Welsh Government the power to create new legislation against smoking in cars with children.

Health minister Norman Lamb told the BBC Radio 4's World Tonight programme: “You have to ask yourself the question, 'How important is the liberty that we're infringing here?'

“The liberty to smoke in your car in front of a child doesn't seem to me that important and protecting a child's health does seem to me to be incredibly important.”

Shadow public health minister Luciana Berger said: “This is a great victory for child health, which will benefit hundreds of thousands of young people across our country. It is a matter of child protection, not adult choice.

“The will of Parliament has been clearly expressed today and this must be respected. Ministers now have a duty to bring forward regulations so that we can make this measure a reality and put protections for children in place as soon as possible.”

Penny Woods, chief executive of the British Lung Foundation, said: “Having campaigned on this issue for many years, we're absolutely delighted that MPs have backed the ban on smoking in cars carrying children. This could prove a great leap forward for the health of our nation's children.”

Professor Mitch Blair, Officer for Health Promotion at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said:“With one in five parents still lighting up around their children, the need to ban smoking around children has never been greater. Progressive legislation such as seat-belts in cars and the banning of drink-driving were once met with scepticism, but they have proven to make a significant difference. I have no doubt that an outright ban on smoking in cars will have the same positive results.”

But Simon Clark, director of smokers' lobby group Forest, said there was “a line the state shouldn't cross when it comes to dictating how people behave in private places”.

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at opinion@publicsectorexecutive.com

Image c. TithiusAgurto

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