The Government have today published a response to the consultation on regulations to end smoking in private vehicles carrying children and have laid draft regulations in Parliament.
The Government want to protect young people from the serious health harms of smoked tobacco and the regulations would make private vehicles carrying children smoke-free. We have made some technical amendments in response to the consultation responses, and, subject to agreement in both Houses, they will come into force from 1 October 2015.
The existing smoke-free legislation, as set out in the Health Act 2006, will be extended so that it will be an offence to:
smoke in a private vehicle with someone under age 18 present; and
fail to prevent smoking in a private vehicle with someone under age 18 present.
If approved by Parliament, the regulations will apply to enclosed private vehicles and will not apply to anyone driving alone.
The World Health Organisation found that second-hand smoke is a real and substantial threat to child health. It causes a variety of adverse health effects including increased susceptibility to lower respiratory tract infections like pneumonia and bronchitis, worsening of asthma, middle ear disease, decreased lung function, and sudden infant death syndrome.
Smoke-free legislation is a devolved matter and these regulations would apply to England only. However the regulations will set the amount of the fixed penalty notice at £50 for the offence of failing to prevent smoking in a smoke-free private vehicle, which will apply in relation to England and Wales. We are liaising with the Welsh Government to co-ordinate our approaches. Public Health England is developing a social marketing campaign to raise awareness of the new regulations in advance of them coming into force.
The Government response to the consultation on smoking in private vehicles carrying children has been placed in the Library of the House.