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County health bosses welcome smoking in cars ban

County health bosses welcome smoking in cars ban

Published at 7:38am 1st October 2015. (Updated at 5:02pm 1st October 2015)

New legislation to protect children and young people from the dangers of tobacco and passive smoking has come into force.

It's now illegal to smoke in a vehicle if someone aged under 18 is present.

The law applies to every driver, including those aged 17 and those with a provisional driving licence.

The driver could be fined £50 if someone is caught smoking in their vehicle.

Officials in North Yorkshire say the legislation supports local action to create a "smoke-free generation".

Smoking is still the biggest preventable cause of ill health and early death in the county, and second-hand smoke is a hazard to children and young people.

Dr Lincoln Sargeant, Director of Public Health for North Yorkshire, said: "Every time a child breathes in second-hand smoke, they breathe in thousands of chemicals, which put them at risk of serious conditions, including meningitis, cancer and respiratory infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia, because they breathe more rapidly than adults and have less developed airways, lungs and immune systems.

"Over 80% of cigarette smoke is invisible and opening car windows does not remove its harmful effect. 

"Second-hand smoke includes the smoke exhaled, as well as the smoke created by the lit end of a cigarette."

Smoking in cars Q & A:

What does the new law on smoking in cars say?

It's now illegal to smoke in a car or other vehicle with anyone under 18 present. Both the driver and the smoker could be handed a £50 fixed penalty. It does not apply to a 17-year-old driving on their own.

What if the car is a convertible?

The law applies to private vehicles enclosed wholly or partly by a roof, so if the car is a convertible and the top is down and stowed, then it's legal to smoke even if a child is in the back.

Can someone smoke with children in the back if they open the sunroof?

No, even if the sunroof is open, the car is still classed as being enclosed.

What about if they park up for a smoke and open the door?

Again, the law applies. It's illegal to smoke in a car with children present if the car is moving or stationary.

What about motorhomes?

The legislation applies to motorhomes, camper vans and caravans when they are being used as a vehicle, but does not apply when they are being used as living accommodation.

What about e-cigarettes in the car?

The new law does not forbid smoking e-cigarettes in a car when children are present.