Ash Scotland says the new law sends out a clear message of the health risks
New laws banning smoking in cars when children are present sends a clear message of the health risks involved, anti-smoking charity Ash Scotland says.
The ban which came in to place today (Monday) means anyone caught lighting up in a vehicle with an under 18 year old in it faces a £100 on the spot fine or a penalty of up to £1,000 should they end up in court.
Ash Scotland welcomed the move which brings Scotland in to line with England and Wales after similar bans were imposed their last year.
When we know that just one cigarette can quickly lead to harmful levels of smoke, we have to take action
The charity’s chief executive Sheila Duffy says Scotland’s children deserve the same protection from second hand smoke that other countries afford their young citizens.
“The most recent data shows that about one in six 15 year olds are sometimes or often exposed to second-hand smoke in the car.
"When we know that just one cigarette can quickly lead to harmful levels of smoke, we have to take action. This is about protecting children’s health.
“Similar laws are fast becoming the norm around the world, from Australia and Canada to the United States, France and Ireland. Scotland’s children deserve the same protection.
“This isn’t about the number of fines issued – it’s about sending a clear message that smoking in cars is harmful to children, and that you need to take smoking right outside of all enclosed spaces, whether that’s the home, the car or anywhere else.
“We have to change attitudes if we want to protect children’s health. Just like with seatbelts and child car seats, this law is one component of a wider campaign to keep children safe and put tobacco out of sight, out of mind and out of fashion for the next generation.”
However the ban hasn’t gone down well with everyone.
Pro smoking pressure group Forest described the new law as “patronising and unnecessary”.
Its director Simon Clark added: “Very few adults smoke in cars with children.
“Smokers know it's inconsiderate and the overwhelming majority don't do it.
“So few people smoke when there's a child in the car it will be like looking for a needle in a haystack."