Should smoking in cars carrying children be banned? House of Lords set to vote on controversial Labour plan

Peers are set to vote on the issue this afternoon amid Labour calls for the creation of a specific offence amid claims the move will help save to lives

The House of Lords will today vote on a controversial Labour plan to ban smoking in cars while children are present.

Peers are set to vote on the issue this afternoon amid Labour calls for the creation of a specific offence amid claims the move will help save to lives.

Shadow public health minister Luciana Berger said the party intends to force a vote on an amendment to the Children and Families Bill in the House of Lords which it is tabling later today.

Should the move succeed the amendment would make it a legal obligation for drivers of private vehicles to fail to prevent smoking when a child is present.

Labour has said that if the vote does not pass the measure will be included in their election manifesto for 2015.

The measure has been strongly opposed by pro-smoking lobby group Forest who said the law would be difficult to enforce, was 'heavy handed' and disproportionate.

"We think legislation is a very heavy-handed way to tackle this problem. I don't think it is as big a problem as they like to make out. The vast majority of smokers wouldn't dream of lighting a cigarette in a car with a child," Forest director Simon Clark said.

"We don't need legislation that would be very, very difficult to enforce. Our concern is that what would happen is people will then say 'Let's have a ban on smoking in all private vehicles' so you could have a lone driver on his own in his own vehicle lighting a cigarette and he would be committing an offence.

"If you say 'Let's ban smoking in cars with children present', are you going to go on and try and ban smoking in the home if children are present?

"I think this would set a very bad precedent and lead to a lot of problems."

Ms Berger said that almost 500,000 children in England were exposed to potentially toxic levels of second-hand smoke in family cars every week.

"We know that children are particularly vulnerable to passive smoking. We know that a single cigarette can create concentrations of tobacco smoke in a car that is 23 times more toxic than in a typical house," she told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"Ministers have scrapped research that the last Labour government commissioned on smoking in cars with children. They have tried to kick this issue into the long grass and that's why Labour has brought forward these proposals today and why we are going to force the vote in Parliament."

Supporters of the ban also claim there is overwhelming public support for the measure, citing a YouGov poll from 2011 that found 78% of adults in Great Britain agreeing that smoking should be banned in cars carrying children younger than 18 years of age.

The poll also found that 44% agreed that smoking should be banned in all cars.

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham also backed the call for a ban telling Sky: "When it comes to improving the health of children, we are duty bound to consider any measure that might make a difference."

Dr Penny Woods, Chief Executive of the British Lung Foundation - which has campaigned on the issue, said: “Research has shown that smoking in a car, even with the windows open or air conditioning on, can create levels of pollution that exceed World Health Organisation safe limits. Children are particularly susceptible to the dangers of this smoke, due to their smaller lungs and less-developed immune systems.

“This policy would help protect the health of nearly half a million children who are exposed to potentially dangerous concentrations of second-hand smoke within the family car every week. Labour are therefore absolutely right to act on the evidence and support it."


Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
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

Ashdown Group: Marketing & Sales Manager

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A reputable organisation within the leisure i...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Recruitment Genius: Doctors - Dubai - High "Tax Free" Earnings

£96000 - £200000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Looking for a better earning p...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer

£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly expanding company in ...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system