11 July 2011
Smoking in cars harms children, and evidence is piling up that the public wants action, said the British Lung Foundation (BLF) today, as it welcomed the Welsh Government’s commitment to protect children from the harmful effects of smoking in cars.
This is the next crucial step in the BLF’s fight to outlaw smoking in cars carrying children. Earlier this year, a petition was delivered to Downing Street with over 16,600 signatures in support of this legislation. This comes after BLF research showed that over half of children across the UK are exposed to cigarette smoke when confined in the car. BLF research also showed that 86 per cent of children want to see legislation introduced to prevent people from smoking when they are passengers in the car.
The UK is lagging behind United States, Canada and Australia which have already introduced this legislation and Wales could be the first country in the European Union to introduce legislation to end smoking in cars carrying children.
In response to today’s announcement that the Welsh Assembly will be introducing new measures to protect children from cigarette smoke in the car, Dame Helena Shovelton, Chief Executive of the British Lung Foundation, said:
“We are very pleased that the Welsh Government has outlined plans today to tackle the problem of children being exposed to passive smoke when confined in the car.
“Awareness-raising is very important as a first step and should form part of any approach. However, evidence from Canada shows that provinces which have introduced legislation on smoking in cars with children have seen a bigger drop in children’s exposure to tobacco smoke, compared to those who have relied just on awareness campaigns. With mounting support from the public and doctors, it is crucial that legislation remains an option, to help protect children’s health.”
Dr Patrick Flood-Page, chair of BLF Wales and a respiratory consultant, said:
"300,000 children in the UK go to their GP each year with illnesses related to passive smoking. We should be protecting our children from harm. We shouldn’t be forcing them to smoke."
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