New legislation comes into force on Thursday making it illegal to smoke in a vehicle with someone under 18 present.
This Thursday, October 1, sees new legislation come into force in Wales and England which will make it illegal to smoke in private vehicles when someone under the age of 18 is present.
- A private vehicle must be smoke-free if it is enclosed, there is more than one person present and one of them is under the age of 18;
- It will be an offence for a person of any age to smoke in a private vehicle when someone under the age of 18 is present and for a driver, including a provisional driver, not to stop someone smoking in these circumstances;
- The fixed penalty notice fine for both offences is £50. Somebody who commits both offences could get two fines;
- The rules do not apply to e-cigarettes;
- The law does not apply when someone under the age of 18 is smoking and is the only person in the vehicle;
Adults caught smoking in a car where children are passengers could face on-the-spot fines from Thursday, October 1.
The new legislation will make it an an offence to smoke in an enclosed private vehicle when more than one person is present, at least one of whom is under the age of 18, and for a driver to fail to prevent smoking in such circumstances.
Those caught face a warning, a £50 fixed penalty, reduced to £30 if paid with two weeks, or a fine of up to £200 if convicted in a magistrates court.
Opponents of the new law banning smoking in cars with children say the legislation is “unnecessary”, “unenforceable” and will “stigmatise millions of decent men and women”.
Simon Clark, director of the smokers’ group Forest said;
“The new law is unnecessary and almost certainly unenforceable. The overwhelming majority of smokers know smoking in a car carrying children is inconsiderate and they don’t do it.
If drivers are spotted smoking will they be stopped in case there’s a child in the back? The authorities, especially the police, must have better things to do.
“Smokers are sick and tired of politicians questioning their parenting skills as if they’re devoid of common sense.
The law will make no difference to public health but it will stigmatise millions of decent men and women who don’t need government and other busybodies telling them how to behave.”
Alyn and Deeside Assembly Member Carl Sargeant
“I am pleased that this ban is being introduced and want all residents in Alyn and Deeside to be aware of its introduction on October 1.
“Children are still growing and are affected more by second hand smoke because they breathe more rapidly and inhale more pollutants than adults.
“Having spoken to residents since the ban was announced, I know that there is real public support for this measure, not least from the children it will benefit.”
The Police Federation, which representPolice officers, said officers should not be expected to act as health workers.
Jayne Willetts -Police Federation, said:
“Making this an offence that officers are expected to enforce just creates an unnecessary extra layer of bureaucracy. With resources being cut, no force can prioritise their hard-pressed police officers’ time for this. It brings us back to the whole problem of police being “everything for everyone” and, now, health workers.
‘Meanwhile, we are struggling to find resources to stop crimes that have a much more dramatic impact on victims.’
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