The House of Lords yesterday voted on a Labour proposal moves that could pave the way for a ban on smoking in cars carrying children.
Peers voted for/against a Labour amendment to the Children and Families Bill that could see it become an offence for adults to light up in vehicles where children are present.
The party vowed to include the plan it in its manifesto for the next election – even if yesterday’s vote went against it.
Opponents say education campaigns are a better way to discourage people from smoking around children.
The Yorkshire Evening Post asked interested parties on either side of the debate to outline the arguments for and against.
Paul Lambert, a public health specialist in tobacco control in Leeds, said: “Second hand smoke has terrible detrimental effects on children. The British Lung Foundation last year released data highlighting that 185,000 children aged 11 to 15 are exposed to potentially toxic concentrations of second hand smoke in the family car every day.
“The main arguments against a ban are that it goes against freedom of choice and that most parents wouldn’t smoke in front of their children anyway. But the figures show that there are a certain proportion who do.
“What’s important is that any legislation needs to be supported by an educational campaign.”
However, Simon Clark, director of smokers’ lobby group Forest, said legislation was “completely unnecessary”. He said: “Most adult smokers accept that smoking in a car with children present is inconsiderate and the overwhelming majority choose not to.
“Banning smoking in private vehicles is a serious invasion of privacy. Education, not legislation, is the way forward.
“Smoking is banned in all enclosed public places, including privately run pubs and clubs. Now they want to prohibit smoking in private vehicles.
“What next? A ban on smoking in the home if children are present?”