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New Smoking in cars legislation a major step forward to protect children from second hand smoke

New legislation coming into force from October 1 will ban smoking in cars when young people under 18 are present. It has been hailed as a major step forward in protecting the health of young people by Stephen Pintus, director of Public Health for North East Lincolnshire.

“When the ban on smoking in pubs and workplaces was introduced eight years ago, it made a huge difference in protecting adults from the effects of second hand smoke, but did little for children” said Mr Pintus. 

“This new law will protect as many as one in three children in North East Lincolnshire who are currently exposed to smoking in the car by parents and relatives. Second-hand smoke is particularly dangerous in the car, where even with the window down or air conditioning on, smoking can result in dangerous concentrations of toxic chemicals – many of which are invisible to the naked eye”

Trevor Parkin, tobacco alliance coordinator, said:
“North East Lincolnshire has one of the highest levels of smoking in England with corresponding high levels of smoking related ill health. Children are particularly sensitive to smoke and suffer from increased respiratory problems such as asthma, wheezing, coughs and colds. The new legislation will help to reduce the 300,000 extra visits made by children to their doctors nationally due to exposure to second hand smoke”.  

Councillor Jane Hyldon-King,  portfolio holder for health and adult social care and chair of the health and wellbeing board, said:

“Reducing harm from smoking is one of our priorities and this includes not only harm to smokers themselves but also to their families. We know from a survey in 2013 of over 1000 local people that eight out of ten adults in the area strongly support a ban.

“The best way smokers can reduce the harm to themselves and their children from tobacco smoke is to quit smoking. Over 1,000 smokers have quit smoking in the last two years in our area with the free help and support available from the local stop smoking service. Anyone thinking of quitting can give them a ring on 01472 325500.”

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