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Doctors leaders hail car-smoking ban


British Lung Foundation infographicThe BMA has hailed a parliamentary vote to ban smoking in cars carrying children as ‘an important step forward’.

MPs overwhelmingly passed the amendment to the Children and Families Bill this week by 376 votes to 107.

The free vote in the Commons gives governments in England and Wales the power to regulate against smoking in private vehicles when under-18s are present.

MPs also voted in favour of allowing regulations to standardise tobacco packaging in order to protect the health of children. 

A government amendment to restrict the sale of e-cigarettes to children under 18 was also carried.

End to exposure

The BMA supported all three bill amendments and has specifically been campaigning against smoking in cars carrying children since 2011.

BMA board of science chair Baroness Sheila Hollins (pictured below) said: ‘The outcome of this resounding vote is an important step forward in reducing tobacco harm by stopping children from being exposed to second-hand smoke in private vehicles.

‘Children are still developing physically and, as a result, they are more susceptible to the harmful effects of second-hand smoke.

‘Adults who smoke in the presence of children are not acting in the children’s best interest; therefore it is the government’s duty to change legislation in order to protect them.'

See the original of the British Lung Foundation info
graphic above and read its references.

Intense lobbying

Last week, the BMA urged doctors to use an online action tool to encourage their MPs to back the ban on smoking in cars carrying children. 

It sent briefings to the Lords and Commons before the votes and would ultimately want to see an outright ban on all smoking in vehicles.

More than 500 respiratory health professionals also signed a letter in the BMJ urging MPs to vote in favour of the ban on smoking in cars carrying children.

The Royal College of Physicians of London suggests there are around 300,000 GP consultations and nearly 10,000 hospital admissions a year connected to the effects of second-hand smoke in children.

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

 Read about the BMA’s work to stop smoking in vehicles

 Read the letter in the BMJ

The story so far