The British Medical Association has recently released a report about the harm that can come to children and passengers when people are smoking in cars. Dr Richard Lewis has called for an outright ban saying it is the only way for children to be properly protected from the dangers of second-hand smoke.
The study released by the BMA has shown that those in a car with a smoker are exposed to significant amounts of second-hand smoke. The Welsh Health Survey has recently found that nearly half of all smokers do smoke when they are driving. Second-hand smoke is considered a major threat to public health and has already led to other legal restrictions in the UK.
Studies have shown that even when the driver does not smoke when there are others in the car the passengers are still exposed to some of the chemicals that are found in cigarettes. Every year over 4000 people in the UK die prematurely because of exposure to other peoples smoke.
Driving safety groups have also said the smoking can be a distraction while driving and that there might be a correlation between smoking in the car and accidents. The Highway Code has recently been updated and smoking is now included as a distraction from driving.
Several considerations have been made about how to enforce the ban, and some said that it would be only appropriate to ban smoking in cars when there are children present. On the other side of the argument people have said that this would be very difficult to enforce and the only way to go about a successful ban is to ban smoking in cars entirely.
Other legislation, that has been put in place to reduce people’s exposure to second-hand smoke, has been very effective and there has been a reduction in the number of people admitted to hospital.