PARENTS

Smoking In Cars With Children: £10,000 Fine For Lighting Up In Front Of Kids

10/11/2014 14:10 | Updated 20 May 2015

Smoking in car with children £10,000 fine

Smoking in cars carrying children is to be made illegal with offenders facing fines of up to £10,000.

From October 2015, smoking in cars with children in them is to be banned - and even allowing a passenger to light up will become a criminal offence.

A new law is expected to be passed next month (December), the Sunday Times reported.

It will apply to anyone carrying children in a car, not just parents.

The ban follows an historic vote in February, when MPs overwhelmingly backed plans to make it illegal to light up in a car in England, punishable by a £60 fine or points on a motorist's licence.

Small print in the new consultation paper suggested drivers who fail to stop passengers smoking in front of an under-18-year-old face fines of up to £10,000 - a much higher penalty than the maximum £800 fine for the passenger who lights up.

Enforcement officers would be able to issue a £50 fixed penalty notice both for smoking in the vehicle and failure to prevent smoking in the vehicle.

If the case goes to court, the maximum fine will soar to £800 for someone caught smoking in a car carrying a child and £10,000 for a driver who fails to prevent someone else smoking.

It raises the prospect of a driver – or even just the owner – of a car being fined if another adult starts smoking unless they can show they took 'reasonable steps' to stop the person lighting up.

The final details of the law change and the penalty will be announced by ministers shortly.

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Public health minister Jane Ellison said: "We want to protect children from the harms associated with second-hand smoke and the Government will proceed with the introduction of regulations to end smoking in private vehicles carrying children in England."

A Department of Health survey found 300,000 children a year visited GPs in England every year with problems linked to second-hand smoke.

Passive smoking is linked to respiratory infections such as pneumonia and chest infections in young people. It can also trigger asthma attacks in sufferers and contribute to sudden unexpected infant death.

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