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29 September 2015

Cumbria County Council welcomes smokefree cars to protect children

Cumbria County Council has welcomed a ban on smoking in vehicles carrying young people under the age of 18. This new legislation comes into effect in England and Wales from 1 October and coincides with the start of Stoptober, the national 28 day campaign to help smokers quit.

Children are particularly vulnerable to secondhand smoke; they have smaller lungs, faster breathing and less developed immune systems, which make them more susceptible to respiratory and ear infections triggered by passive smoking.

This new law is not designed to turn smokers into criminals, but to protect children from the avoidable dangers that tobacco smoke presents to their health and well-being.

Although members of the public are protected by smokefree legislation in public transport and in work vehicles, large numbers of children remain exposed to high concentrations of secondhand smoke when confined in family cars.

The change in law means that private vehicles must be smokefree if they are enclosed, there is more than one person present and one of them is under 18. The fixed penalty notice fine for offences is £50.

The facts:

·        18% of Cumbria residents are smokers (est. 73,093). Smoking prevalence is highest in Barrow (23.4%) and Carlisle (20.7%) - Source - Action on Smoking and Health (ASH)

·        More than 430,000 children are exposed to second-hand smoke in the family car each week - Source – British Lung Foundation

·        Nationally, smoking rates are much higher among poorer people. In 2013, 14% of adults in managerial and professional occupations smoked compared with 29% in routine and manual occupations - Source - Action on Smoking and Health (ASH)

·        Nationally, 300,000 GP visits result from second-hand smoke in children each year - Source - Royal College of Physicians

·        A recent national survey by YouGov and ASH revealed that ending smoking in cars with children is supported by 85% of adults from households with under 18s.

Cllr Ian Stewart, the county council’s Cabinet member for Public Health, said:

“It is great that children and young people in Cumbria will now be protected from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke in vehicles. Children suffering the effects of secondhand smoke are admitted to Cumbrian hospitals every year with complications such as bronchitis, asthma and reduced lung function.

“We urge all adults to comply with the law, our advice is to keep your family safe by keeping your car smokefree. With Stoptober also beginning on 1 October, there’s never been a better time to quit.”

With one less place to smoke, there’s one more reason to quit

Smokers are encouraged to use the ban as the perfect opportunity to kick the habit for good as Stoptober also starts on 1 October. Last year over 1,800 smokers across Cumbria quit as part of the campaign. Free support includes texts, social media coaching from celebrities as well as local stop smoking services on-hand to provide face-to-face advice.

To sign up to the nation’s biggest mass quit attempt, search Stoptober online or visit http://www.cumbria.gov.uk/communications/stoptober.aspthis external link will open in a new window.

Smokefree Cars - http://www.cumbria.gov.uk/communications/smokefreecars.asp

This is an archived copy of a news release originally published on www.cumbria.gov.uk