Cheshire and Merseyside councils welcome smokefree cars to protect children

Published on: Thursday, 01-October-2015

Cheshire  and Merseyside councils have welcomed a ban on smoking in vehicles carrying  people aged under 18, which becomes law in England and Wales on 1 October.

Secondhand smoke from cigarettes contains over 4,500 toxic chemicals and 80% of it is invisible. The toxic mix is responsible for a range of serious health problems including bronchitis, asthma and glue ear, and is especially dangerous to children.

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.

A Public Health England campaign, including TV and radio adverts, will help make the public aware of the change in law. It comes into force the same day as Stoptober, Public Health England’s 28-day mass-quitting challenge which also starts 1 October.

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

Matthew Ashton, Director of Public Health for Knowsley Council and Lead Director of Public Health for Tobacco for Cheshire and Merseyside said: “I fully support the new legislation. It is great that children and young people in Cheshire and Merseyside will now be protected from smoky vehicles. This new legislation means that children, who often don’t have a say in whether they travel in a vehicle, will now be protected from breathing in the 4,500 toxic chemicals we know are in secondhand smoke.

“Hundreds of children suffering the effects of secondhand smoke are admitted to Cheshire and Merseyside hospitals every year with complications such as bronchitis, asthma and reduced lung function. Smoking within the enclosed confines of a car is extremely dangerous, especially for children whose young lungs are still developing, even when the window is open or the air conditioning is on. We urge all adults to comply with the law. There is always help on hand to support people worried about long journeys, as they can contact their local stop smoking service.”

Andrea Crossfield, Chief Executive of Tobacco Free Futures which co-ordinated the campaign for smokefree cars in the North West said: “We have campaigned for smokefree cars for five years, and we hope the change in the law along with the extra information and support available will lead to healthier choices by people across Cheshire and Merseyside to keep their cars smokefree.

“Smoky cars, packed full of toxic tobacco chemicals, are especially deadly to children because they have smaller lungs, faster breathing and less developed immune systems. Secondhand smoke in cars is dangerous and can be up to 11 times the levels you would find in a smoky room. Our advice is to keep your family safe by keeping your car smokefree.”

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 around 9,500 smokers across Cheshire and Merseyside signed up to quit during Stoptober. Free support includes texts, social media coaching from celebrities as well as local stop smoking services on-hand to provide face-to-face advice.

If you are thinking about quitting you are four times more likely to quit with the help of a NHS stop smoking service advisor who can offer you free support and advice. Contact your local stop smoking service at:

Knowsley Council Smokefree Knowsley
0800 3 247 111
St Helens Council Smokefree St Helens 
01744 586 247
Sefton Council Sefton Support
0300 100 1000
Warrington Council LiveWire, Warrington’s stop smoking service 0300 003 0818 
Wirral Council Wirral SSS - 0151 630 8383   
Halton Council Halton Stop Smoking Service  
0300 029 0029
0800 195 2131
Cheshire East Council KICKSTART Stop Smoking & Harm Reduction Service
0800 085 8818/ 01625 663 729
Cheshire West and Chester Quit 4 Good
08000 435 134