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New laws to protect children by fining smokers in cars

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The government have announced the introduction of a new law to protect children from second hand smoke. From October 1, it will be illegal to smoke in a car carrying at least one passenger under the age of 18.

The new law will affect every driver in both England and Wales, even holders of provisional licenses. Both the driver and the smoker will be fined £50 if found to be smoking.

According to the Department of Health: “The law applies to any private vehicle that is enclosed wholly or partly by a roof.

“It still applies if people have the windows or sunroof open, have the air conditioning on, or if they sit in the open doorway of the vehicle. The law won’t apply to a convertible car with the roof completely down.”

Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies says: “Children breathe faster than adults so they are much more exposed to the dangers of second-hand smoke. Their airways, lungs and immune systems are still developing so are much more at risk from harm.

“We want children to grow up free from harm and we need parents to understand why smoking in vehicles is so dangerous. 80% of smoke is invisible so even if you think you are being careful you cannot see where the smoke is going.”

Smoking was banned in all public places on 1 July 2007 in England, which made the UK smoke-free.

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