British government should ban smoking in cars: doctors

November 16, 2011

Britain should introduce a ban on all smoking in cars to protect people from second-hand smoke, a leading doctors' union said Wednesday.

The British Medical Association (BMA) urged the government to take a "bold and courageous step" and extend current laws to include a ban on in private vehicles.

Britain banned smoking in public places such as pubs and restaurants in 2007 but has avoided legislating for private areas.

"The UK made a huge step forward in the fight against tobacco by banning smoking in all enclosed public places, but more can still be done," said Vivienne Nathanson, the BMA's director of .

"We are calling on UK governments to take the bold and courageous step of banning smoking in private vehicles. The evidence for extending the smoke-free legislation is compelling."

Children and elderly people are the worst affected, especially because they are often unable to refuse to take a journey in a smoky car, the BMA said.

It cited research as showing that levels of dangerous toxins in cars can be 23 times higher than in a typical smoky bar.

Around 4,000 adults and 23 children die each year as a result of second-hand smoke in Britain, the BMA said.

The British parliament is due on November 25 to debate a bill calling for a smoking ban in private vehicles when children are present.

David Cameron, a former smoker, has said he supports the smoking ban in but is "nervous about going into what people do inside a vehicle."

British smokers' lobby group Forest said the evidence that smoking in cars is harmful to other passengers is "weak".

Explore further: Children held captive in smoky vehicles

Related Stories

Children held captive in smoky vehicles

May 1, 2011

It is absolutely unacceptable to subject children to any tobacco smoke exposure in cars, according to the authors of an abstract to be presented Sunday, May 1, at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Denver.

Recommended for you

Higher intelligence score means better physical performance

August 14, 2015

New research reveals a distinct association between male intelligence in early adulthood and their subsequent midlife physical performance. The higher intelligence score, the better physical performance, the study reveals. ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.