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Car smoking ban in force

On 1 October 2015 it become an offence in England and Wales to smoke in a car that has passengers under the age of 18.  The Smoke-free (Private Vehicles) Regulations 2015 provides that any driver (including those with provisional driving licences)  found contravening this law can be fined £50.  The law extends the driver’s responsibility under these regulations to all of their passengers.

The ban does not extend to the use of e-cigarettes nor does it include smoking in convertible vehicles with the roof completely down.  Motorhomes and caravans are not be included in this ban when they are being used as living spaces.

The ban comes in after research carried out by Newcastle University, Public Health England and Fresh Smoke Free North East reported that even when the car window is opened, if a passenger is smoking then the level of dangerous chemicals in the air is over 100 times the recommended safety guidelines.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council have stated that they will be taking a ‘non-confrontational’ approach to enforcing this ban, placing emphasis on educating and advising drivers whilst public awareness builds.  The Chairman of the Police Federation has stated that it will be ‘extremely challenging’ to enforce these Regulations.

Although this ban is currently only in England and Wales, it is expected that Scotland and Northern Ireland will follow suit in following years.

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Legal Disclaimer

Articles are intended as an introduction to the topic and do not constitute legal advice.