Passive smoking has always been considered a health hazard and it is likely to be more damaging in confined spaces such as cars and other vehicles. This worry for our children’s health has led to the possibility of a new ban that makes it a criminal offence for drivers to smoke in their vehicles when children are present. The amendment for change of the legislation on smoking in cars was passed by 376 votes to 107. This would mean that while children are inside the vehicle, drivers can no longer smoke in their presence. It is a movement that hopes to reduce the negative implications that passive smoking can have on children’s health.
Because the levels of second hand smoke in a car is magnified when the windows are up, children passengers are left to breath in the harmful toxins. The new ban would mean that children will be less exposed to these toxins and therefore the likeliness of implications from passive smoking will be severely reduced. The BBC’s article entitled ‘Car smoking: MPs support ban when children present’ states that exposure to second-hand smoke is a “major cause of ill-health in children”. Health minister Luciana Berger said:
“This is a great victory for child health which will benefit hundreds of thousands of young people across our country.”
CarShop.co.uk Service Centre Manager Craig Grayalso commented on the potential smoking ban: “Passive smoking can be harmful for children and other passengers in the car, however people should use their common sense rather than the government controlling the issue.”
This is not the first time that a possible ban on smoking in vehicles with children present has been called into action as there have been several different occasions when this concern has been raised in Parliament. Despite this, not all MP’s support the ban as Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, has spoken out against the new legislation and has made his distaste to it perfectly clear. Nick Clegg is unwilling to ‘sub-contract’ parenthood. As mentioned in the article from BBC outlining his disagreement with the new legislation, Nick Clegg has been reported to have said to his weekly LBC radio phone-in that:
“Of course it’s a stupid thing to do to smoke when a child is in the back of a car but you don’t always have to have a law to fix things you don’t like,” which emphasizes the extent to which Mr Clegg is against the ban.
Nick Clegg’s statement of not wanting to ‘sub-contract’ parenthood leads to the daunting possibility that the state has gone too far to control our actions. Are our lives becoming more and more determined by the state and its rules? Despite the fact that The House of Lords says that the amendment to the Children and Families Bill was only concerned with protecting children, many people disagree with this and see the new amendment as just another way in which the state can control people. The benefit’s that the ban will have on children’s health must be kept in mind however as it is thought to greatly reduce passive smoking in the youth and it is because of this that the new legislation will be so beneficial to UK citizens.