From 1 October, new legislation in England makes it illegal to smoke in a vehicle carrying someone who is under 18. It is also against the law for a driver not to stop someone smoking in these circumstances. The fine for both offences is £50.
The change in the law is to protect children and young people from the damaging effects of secondhand smoke, which can put them at risk of serious conditions such as meningitis, cancer, bronchitis and pneumonia, and make asthma worse.
The new law applies to any private vehicle enclosed by a roof, even if the window is open, the air conditioning is on or the smoker is sitting in the open doorway of the vehicle. It follows an experiment by Newcastle University, Public Health England and Fresh Smoke Free North East which revealed that even with a car window open, levels of dangerous chemicals were over 100 times higher than recommended safety guidelines.
As guidance from the Department of Health explains, the new laws don’t apply to e-cigarettes (vaping) or convertible cars that have the roof completely down.
From 1 October, it will also be illegal for retailers to sell e-cigarettes or e-liquids to someone under 18 and for adults to try to buy tobacco products or e-cigarettes for someone under 18.