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Kids unite to stop smoking in cars

2 March 2011

New research by the British Lung Foundation (BLF) has found that over half (51%) of eight to 15 year olds have been exposed to cigarette smoke when confined in a car, highlighting the need for Government measures to improve child protection in this area.

The research also showed that eighty-six per cent of children across Great Britain want people to stop smoking when children are in the car.

The findings are particularly worrying given that previous research shows smoking just one cigarette in the car, even with the window open, creates a greater concentration of second-hand smoke than a whole evening's smoking in a pub.1

The BLF will be working with schools to empower children and give them a voice to help change legislation. Twenty five campaign champions from schools across the country are travelling to London today to hand in the BLF petition signed by over 15,000 people.

Dame Helena Shovelton, Chief Executive for the British Lung Foundation said:

“The number of children whose lungs are being damaged by adults lighting up when children are in the car is alarming. Today children across the UK have sent the Government a strong message. The Government can’t afford to ignore their plea for protection.

“We are calling on all children who want to put an end to passive smoking to add their voice to the BLF’s campaign by going to


For further press enquiries, please contact Tova Turkel on 0207 688 5564/ or Hayley Richardson on 0207 688 5565/

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Notes to Editor:

  • Interviews and statements with case studies are available upon request
  • The BLF surveyed over 1,000 kids aged 8-15 through TNS between 20th-27th January. The survey was completed online through a Kids Bus service
  • Around 4 million people in the UK continue to smoke near children2
  • Medical evidence shows that smoking near children can cause a range of respiratory illness, such as bronchitis and pneumonia and increases their risk of getting cancer as adults. Over 300,000 children in the UK present passive smoking related illnesses to their GP every year3
  • For more information on the campaign or to sign the petition, please visit
  • The British Lung Foundation is fighting to help the eight million people in the UK with lung disease. The charity provides support and information to improve the every day lives of people with lung disease. We are also campaigning for better diagnosis, treatment and prevention for now and the future
  • To find out about the help we provide go to or telephone helpline 08458 50 50 20

1) ASH Essential Information on: Smoking in cars, August 2009

2) ASH Research Report, Secondhand smoke: The Impact on Children, 2006

3) Royal College of Physicians. Passive Smoking and Children. March 2010