Protect children from the dangers of second-hand smoke in cars

 In Parliament

Thousands of children develop serious health conditions every year as a result of breathing second-hand smoke in cars. In February, I called for a change in the law to ban smoking in cars when children are present to help protect their health.

Every year up to 165,000 children develop conditions such as asthma, bronchitis and lung disease after being exposed to cigarette smoke breathed out by adults in enclosed spaces in cars. The total cost of treating these diseases is estimated to be £23 million per year, while the cost to children’s heath in incalculable.

It’s shocking that we protect the public from the dangers of passive smoking on public transport and in offices, and yet thousands of children are exposed to second-hand smoke in family cars. Unlike adults, children don’t understand the dangers and are often unable to stop adults from smoking around them. It’s time we changed the law to protect children from the life-threatening diseases associated with passive smoking.

Over a dozen organisations supported my amendment, introduced during the committee state of the Children and Families Bill, including the British Heart Foundation, Asthma UK, the Royal College of Paediatrics, and Child Health.