Latest figures suggest that police are not enforcing legislation which makes it illegal to smoke in a car with children.
On 1 October 2015, following advice from health experts, the Smoke-free (Private Vehicles) Regulations 2015, made it illegal to smoke in a vehicle carrying someone who is under 18 and could result in an on-the-spot £50 fine.
The aim of the legislation is to protect children from the dangers of second hand smoke. Health experts predicted that before the legislation came in, approximately 3million children a year were exposed to the effects of second hand smoke in vehicles.
It has been seven months since the legislation came in and the figures suggest that not a single fine has been issued. Furthermore only three forces in England and Wales have reported incidents and all were dealt with by way of verbal warning.
Despite the absence of police action, Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) believes that the legislation ‘creates a deterrent and gives children the right to challenge adults who smoke in the car they are travelling in.’
Research by ASH, since the legislation came into force, found that 86% of children said that they were not exposed to smoke in cars and only 3% said that they were exposed to smoke in cars most or every day.
It will be interesting to see whether there will ever be a prosecution for the offence and whether further research supports the view that the new laws are deterring adults from smoking with children in the vehicle.