Drivers in the UK could now face fines and prosecution if they smoke in their car, after a new law prohibiting people from smoking in a vehicle where anyone under 18-years old is present came into effect at the start of the month.
From October 1st, a new law that will see anyone who does light up with children in their vehicle fined £50 on the spot, came into play after years of campaigning from those who claimed that it could severely damage the health of young people to breathe second-hand smoke in these confined spaces.
However, while the law will be looking to crack down on people who persist with smoking in their cars, police are first set to adopt what is being called a common sense approach, which will see them try to be educational rather than punitive.
A National Police Chiefs' Council spokeswoman says forces across the nation are working in line with guidance from the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health to firstly try to educate people on the dangers of smoking behind the wheel and what it can do to other occupants of the car.
However, it is important for drivers to note that in cases where such action is inappropriate, they may still be fined during the grace period. The numbers stopped and action taken will also be reported to local authorities, as each region tries to come up with ways to make sure people are aware of the law and the dangers of smoking in a car.
The law has been a long time coming for campaigners, with research conducted at Newcastle University suggesting that smoking in a car can see some harmful toxins reach levels that are 200 times higher than safe recommended readings.
Professor Dame Sally Davies, chief medical officer for England, said that this a landmark decision for the UK, adding that not only will it help to keep kids safe, but it will also give smokers a stepping stone to quit for good.
Posted by Danielle Barge