After a campaign lasting of three and a half years, Alex Cunningham was today celebrating as Regulations introducing a ban on smoking in cars when children are present finally completed their journey through Parliament.
The Stockton North Labour MP has been fighting for such regulation to protect the health of the UK’s children and young people since introducing legislation under the “ten minute” rule, and further co-sponsored a Private Members’ Bill that was introduced in May 2012. The Smoke Free (Private Vehicles) Regulations 2015, which will come into force on 01 October 2015, prohibit smoking in cars containing children under the age of 18.
The British Lung Foundation estimates that nearly half a million children are exposed to second-hand smoke in the family car every week, while a poll conducted in March by YouGov for ASH found that 77 per cent of adults, including almost two-thirds of smokers, agreed that smoking should be prohibited in cars that are carrying children younger than 18 years of age.
“It has been a long haul since I first introduced a Ten Minute Rule Bill back in June 2011, but I very much welcome the Regulations and the much needed changes that they bring. Life will be better and healthier for tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of young people as a result of the vote to introduce a ban on smoking in cars when children are present.
“However, while I am overjoyed that the Regulations have been passed and a commencement date has been set, I nonetheless look forward to the day when the Minister goes one step further and recognises that smoking in caravans and motorhomes whilst serving as accommodation is almost equally as dangerous for children.
“I am in no doubt that, were tobacco only being discovered in the modern day, it would not be granted a licence for sale. The fact remains that tobacco is the only consumer product that, when used as instructed, kills one in two of its long-term users, and we must continue to take all available steps to ensure that our children and young people have maximum protection against the harms that tobacco can cause.”