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Smoke-free private vehicles carrying children under 18

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Smoke-free private vehicles carrying children under 18

From the 1 October 2015 it will be an offence to smoke in a private vehicle when a person under the age of 18 is present.

It will also be an offence to fail to prevent someone from smoking in a private vehicle when a person under the age of 18 is present.

Research shows children are particularly at risk from exposure to second-hand smoke, in the confined spaces of a vehicle where they cannot escape the harmful chemicals in tobacco smoke.

Vehicles used by the public such as buses, trains, and work vehicles are already required to be smoke-free under the existing smoke-free legislation.

The changes to the law on 1 October 2015 will require a private vehicle to be smoke-free when:

  • it is enclosed
  • there is more than one person present and
  • a person under the age of 18 is present. 

The only exemption will be when a 17 year old driver is smoking and is the only person in the car.

Enforcement of the new law will largely be taken forward by police officers in conjunction with their wider functions on road safety. A fixed penalty amount of £50 will apply to people caught committing the offences.

The changes to the law will also apply in England from 1 October 2015.