Smoking with Kids in the Car Will Be Illegal in England

Feb 13, 2015 02:01 PM EST | Jordan Ecarma

In an effort to guard against secondhand smoke, England is banning smoking in a vehicle when children are present, a regulation that will go into effect on Oct. 1, according to BBC News.

Being found guilty of breaking the new law will result in a fine of £50, or about $40.

While detractors say the ban will be impossible to enforce and furthers unnecessary government control, the British Lung Foundation and other supporters hail the new regulation as victory for public health.

"Three million children are exposed to secondhand smoke in cars, putting their health at risk," said Jane Ellison, public health minister. "We know that many of them feel embarrassed or frightened to ask adults to stop smoking, which is why the regulations are an important step in protecting children from the harms of secondhand smoke."

British Lung Foundation statistics say that more than 430,000 children are subject to secondhand smoke in vehicles every week, while health experts point to increased risk for asthma and meningitis as a subsequent effect of secondhand smoke.

On the other hand, the smokers' lobbying group Forest says the ban is an overstep on the government's part.

"The overwhelming majority of smokers know it's inconsiderate to smoke in a car with children and they don't do it. They don't need the state micro-managing their lives," said Forest director Simon Clark, as quoted by BBC.

"The police won't be able to enforce the law on their own so the government will need a small army of snoopers to report people."

Last summer, Vermont became the seventh state to ban smoking in vehicles when children are inside, according to the Associated Press. The measure in Vermont that became law in June involves the threat of a $100 fine for anyone found smoking in a vehicle carrying young children.  

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