Doctors push for smoking ban in cars

The Smoke Free Lincolnshire Alliance is backing a proposal from the British Medical Association (BMA) to ban smoking in cars, but a Lincoln smoking campaigner believes this would be another invasion of personal rights.

The request comes in light of the BMA’s desire for the UK government to create a tobacco-free society by 2035 and would strengthen the wider tobacco control strategy in the UK.

Current legislation requires that enclosed vehicles be smokefree at all times if used by members of the public or in the course of paid or voluntary work. The proposal asks that the smoking ban be extended to include private vehicles.

A new paper published by the BMA’s Board of Science outlines the adverse effects of second-hand smoke in vehicles.

Children are particularly vulnerable, the paper says, as their breathing tends to be quicker, they absorb more pollutants because of their size, and they have less developed immune systems.

Ros Watson, Smoke Free Lincs Alliance Co-ordinator, said: “Where there is the right to choose, we can make the decision whether to travel with a smoker or not. When a child, who doesn’t always have a choice, is asked to get in a car, we must fight for their rights.”

Pat Nurse, a member of the grassroots smokers’ rights organisation Freedom 2 Choose, said: “This news has one purpose, which is to further the denormalisation of considerate law abiding smoker adults who are quite capable of being considerate in cars with passengers in them.

“The state has no right to control and dictate what we do in our private spaces and that includes cars.

“I’m surprised at the BMA and it’s use of emotive and unscientific hyperbole, including the scandalous, unproven claim that smoke somehow seeps through the skin of children.”

Photo: Dominic Clark