There has been a near-75% reduction in children being exposed to cigarette smoke in cars since the ban came in making it illegal to smoke a cigarette in a car with a person under the age of 18 present, according to a scientific study carried out by researchers from Imperial College London and the universities of Bristol and Liverpool.
Alex Cunningham, the MP for Stockton North, originally brought the issue to the House of Commons as a Ten Minute Rule bill in 2011, but it failed to secure Parliamentary time. He then brought it back in 2012 as a Private Members’ Bill that had already passed the House of Lords, but once again fell due to a lack of parliamentary time available.
After successful lobbying by Alex and health organisations, Labour Lords introduced an amendment to the Children and Families Bill in 2014 which would ban smoking in private vehicles where a child is present. The Government then took the amendment in their own name, and it passed through the Parliamentary process and became implemented in 2016.
Speaking on the research published in the journal Thorax, Alex said:
“It is fantastic news that this measure that I had long campaigned for has been proven to have been a necessary one.
“It is unfair and dangerous for children to be exposed to the toxins in cigarette smoke in such an enclosed space like a private vehicle with no where to go to escape it.
“I am delighted that the conclusion from the research is that banning smoking in private vehicles carrying children has been successful in reducing their exposure to tobacco smoke.
“But the fight for good lung health for all doesn’t stop here. We have a long way to go before we reach a smoke-free generation, and I am up for that fight.”