Calderdale Council has welcomed a ban on smoking in cars carrying children in England.
On Monday 10 February 2014 the House of Commons agreed to a change to the Children and Families Bill, which will come into force before the next general election and will:
- Make it an offence to smoke in cars carrying young people under 18
- Require cigarettes and other tobacco products to be sold in standardised (plain, non-branded) packaging
- Make it illegal for anyone under 18 to buy e-cigarettes
- Make it an offence for people over 18 to buy tobacco for those under 18
Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Health Inequalities, Cllr Simon Young, said:
“We have been in support of this and are delighted with the news so far. It’s a vital step forward in our vision to tackle smoking in the borough. Two thirds of smokers pick up the habit before they’re 18.
“The damage being done to our children is phenomenal. 300,000 UK visits to the GP per year are from children experiencing second-hand smoke, and those who smoke around children are increasing that child’s risk of illnesses such as asthma attacks, meningitis and cot death. Last year we became the first council in West Yorkshire to sign the Local Authority Declaration on Tobacco Control, which shows our commitment to reducing smoking and highlighting the health risks of tobacco.
“Protecting the health of our children is a top priority, so it’s great that we’ll now join Australia, Canada, Cyprus, South Africa and the USA where there is already a ban on smoking in cars carrying children. However, we recognise that people still need to be mindful of the harms of smoking on children and young people in the street and in the home.”
Calderdale Council’s Director of Public Health, Paul Butcher, added:
“All children deserve to be free from second-hand smoke. People need to remember that 80% of cigarette smoke is invisible. In a recent survey with secondary school pupils in Calderdale, 1 in 4 said that they live with people who regularly use tobacco.
“Cars are such an enclosed space; just one cigarette smoked in a car can be 11 times stronger than in an average smoky pub. 430,000 children in the UK aged 11-15 are exposed to second-hand smoke in the family car each week – the equivalent of the whole of Sheffield, England’s fourth largest city. We hope that this legislation keeps children safer and gives them the healthy start in life that they deserve.”