MPs have voted in favour of legislation giving the health secretary powers to introduce a ban on smoking in cars with children.
The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has been calling for a ban on smoking in cars with children since publication of its 2010 report, Passive smoking and children. Every year, over 160,000 children are adversely affected by second-hand smoking, costing the NHS in England over £23 million.
Commenting on the vote, chair of the RCP’s Tobacco Advisory Group, Professor John Britton, said:
Today’s vote is a victory for child health. Second-hand smoke has been strongly linked to a whole host of adverse health effects amongst children, including chest infections, asthma, ear problems and sudden infant death syndrome. Exposure to second hand smoke in cars is particularly dangerous as it is a confined space leading to a high concentration of smoke.
The introduction of a ban on smoking in cars with children will be a big step forward in protecting our children from the harm caused by passive smoking.
The RCP’s 2010 report, Passive smoking and children, estimated that passive smoking in children accounted for:
- over 20,000 cases of lower respiratory tract infection
- 120,000 cases of middle ear disease
- at least 22,000 new cases of wheeze and asthma
- 200 cases of bacterial meningitis
- 40 sudden infant deaths – one in five of all SIDs.
For further information contact Andrew McCracken, RCP Public Affairs Manager, on 0203 075 1354, 07990 745 608 or via firstname.lastname@example.org