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New laws will make it illegal to smoke in private vehicles carrying children

Posted on the 27th February 2015

Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust is supporting actions by Parliament that will make it against the law to smoke in a car carrying anyone under the age of 18 in England.  

In a move to protect children from passive smoking parliament has passed legislation that bans anyone from smoking with children in the car. This new law is due to come into force from October 2015 and coincides with the latest campaign from Public Health England that highlights the hidden dangers that secondhand smoke in homes and cars can cause to children’s health.

Secondhand smoke is particularly harmful to children as they breathe more rapidly and have less developed airways. Children being exposed to secondhand smoke results in more than 300,000 GP consultations and 9,500 hospital admissions every year.

Professor Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer said: 

“The passing of regulations to make smoking in cars carrying under 18s illegal is a significant victory for protecting children’s health from secondhand smoke. Smoking just a single cigarette in a car exposes children to high levels of air pollutants and cancer causing chemicals like arsenic, formaldehyde and tar.

“Children are least equipped to speak out to protest against secondhand smoke, so I welcome this legislation to end smoking in cars when they are present.”

The government estimates that three million children in England are exposed to secondhand smoke in their family car, which puts them at risk of serious conditions including, respiratory infections and meningitis and triggering asthma.  A survey by the British Lung Foundation found that 86% of children who are exposed to smoking in cars would like the smoker to stop; yet only 31% actually feel able to ask them to do so.

The Trust’s stop smoking service, the Quit Squad, is available in Central and East Lancashire to offer support and advice for anyone who is thinking about stopping smoking.

Julie Trezise, Quit Squad Manager from Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust said:

“We welcome this move from the government as our own Trust has recently become completely smokefree on all sites to help reduce the harmful effects of passive smoking and hopefully this new law may encourage parents and others to take that first step and decide to stop smoking altogether. The Quit Squad are available to offer help and advice to set realistic and achievable targets for everyone who wants to quit. Those who access NHS stop smoking services are four times more likely to quit than willpower alone and by contacting our team people can have the support they need when they need it to make sure they succeed.”

It is never too late to decide to stop smoking as Joan from Preston had been a smoker 45 years when she decided to contact the Quit Squad. She explains:

“The help I received was first class and the team do a wonderful job. Despite having to deal with several stressful situations which would have previously had me reaching for a cigarette, with the combined support of my loving family and the Quit Squad I kept on going. I’m so happy I stuck with it and the satisfaction I felt at finally kicking the habit and not giving up when times got tough was worth it. It shows that even after 45 years it really is never too late to quit!”

The Quit Squad offer a range of drop in community clinics and 1 to 1 sessions across Central and East Lancashire including help for people currently using e-cigarettes, as well as specialist support for pregnant woman, workplace sessions and tailored sessions for members of the Black and Minority Ethnic Groups. For more information on the Quit Squad please contact Freephone 0800 328 6297 or call 01772 644474 for Central Lancashire or 01254 283370 for East Lancashire. You can visit their website for a range of information, including an online self-referral form www.quitsquad.nhs.uk