From 1 October 2015 it will be illegal to smoke in a car (or other vehicles) with anyone under 18 present. Public Health Minister Jane Ellison said:
“Three million children are exposed to secondhand smoke in cars, putting their health at risk.... the regulations are an important step in protecting children from the harms of secondhand smoke”.£50 Fine But No Points
Drivers and adult passengers will now be liable to a £50 fine if they either smoke or fail to prevent someone from smoking with a child in the car.
The new offence is not endorseable, which means that penalty points would not be put onto a person’s licence if they commit this offence. However a person could still find themselves in Court if they chose not to accept the fixed penalty or where the enforcement officer (typically a police officer) deems the matter appropriate for the attention of the Court.
The government’s rationale is clearly to encourage a change in behaviour so that smoking in cars is no longer deemed socially acceptable. Arguably this has been the case for many years, except that now it has government backing.
Simon Clark, director of the smokers' group Forest, said:
Aside from the obvious social and health issues, many motorists are well aware of the potential costs when selling their car. Vehicles free from smoke contamination are much more attractive to prospective buyers, whereas those that are clearly polluted and damaged from ash stains or burns will likely turn off some buyers. According to research by AA Cars, smoking can reduce a vehicles resale value by up to 10%.
As straightforward as this new law seems to be, as usual, it throws up a few unexpected consequences.
A person can legitimately smoke in a convertible with the roof down however smoking in a car with the sunroof and all windows open is not permitted.
Smoking in a campervan, motor home or caravan is no longer permitted, unless the vehicle is being used for accommodation purposes (in which case it would seem that the smoker is free to pollute their child’s lungs as much as they so chose...).When Smoking a Cigarette Could Lead to Penalty Points