MPs vote to ban smoking in cars when children are present

 

A ban on smoking in cars in England when children are passengers was overwhelmingly supported on Monday night by MPs of all parties.

The move was approved by 376 to 107, a majority of 269, in a free vote which had divided the Cabinet.

The result gives Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, the authority to make it illegal to light up in a vehicle where a child is present but it does not compel him to bring in the legislation.

The vote came after 700 health experts wrote to MPs urging them to support the move. They said hundreds of thousands of youngsters would be saved from exposure to smoke once the practice was outlawed.

Similar bans are already in place in the United States, Canada and Australia.

David Cameron missed the vote because he was in the South-West visiting areas hit by flooding, but signalled his backing for a ban. His spokesman said he believed the move was an idea “whose time had come”.

A ban was also supported by Mr Hunt and Michael Gove, the Education Secretary.

Critics have argued the move would be impractical and unenforceable and would amount to an infringement of personal freedom. Theresa May, the Home Secretary, and Chris Grayling, the Justice Secretary, were among opponents of the move within the Cabinet.

The Liberal Democrat leader, Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, has also spoken out against a measure that would “sub-contract responsible parenting to the state”.

Dr Penny Woods, chief executive of the British Lung Foundation, expressed her delight at the vote, which came in a Labour amendment to the Children and Families Bill.

She said: “The introduction of a law that would help prevent hundreds of thousands of children from being exposed to second-hand smoke in the car is now within reach.

“With both Houses of Parliament having made their support for the ban clear, the onus is now on the Government to act accordingly and make this crucial child protection measure law at the earliest opportunity.”

The charity estimates that more than 430,000 children aged 11 to 15 are exposed to second-hand smoke in cars every week in England.

Last night Luciana Berger, the shadow health minister, urged the Government not to delay the introduction of the measure.

She said: “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.”

A Department of Health spokesman said: “Second-hand smoke is harmful to children and it is right this has been debated in Parliament. We will now determine how this amendment should be taken forward.”

He added that Public Health England would continue its campaign to “ensure parents fully understand the dangers of second-hand smoke and are encouraged to stop smoking in the home or car if there is a child present”.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
Sport
football
News
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk