STUB it out – that’s the message from the British Medical Association (BMA).
That’s because smoking inside a car puts car occupants at risk of 23 more toxins than a smoky pub bar – and do you remember what those were like?
The BMA says it has compelling scientific evidence that supports a ban on smoking in motor vehicles and wants UK governments to introduce an extension to the current smoke-free legislation to include a ban on smoking in private vehicles.
So what is the law and smoking in vehicles? It’s called the Health Act and covers all business cars and vans if they are used by more than one person.
So, for example, if you carry colleagues in your company car, that business car must be smoke-free. If you carry workmates in your van, then again that must be smoke-free. More to the point, all those vehicles must display a no-smoking sign.
All daily rental cars and vans must be smoke-free.
However, if you use your private car for business purposes, this does not have to be smoke-free…unless your business mileage exceeds 50% of your total mileage, just to add further complication.
The regulations differ slightly between England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland – Scotland was the first to introduce the smoking ban in business vehicles.
Dr Vivienne Nathanson, the BMA’s director of professional activities, commented:
“Every year in England there are over 80,000 deaths that are caused by smoking. But behind the stark statistics, doctors see the individual cases of ill-health and premature death caused by smoking and second-hand smoke. For this reason, doctors are committed to reducing the harm caused by tobacco.”
The launch of the BMA’s briefing paper coincides with the second reading of Alex Cunningham’s Private Members’ Bill calling for a ban on smoking in private vehicles when children are present. This is listed to be debated on Friday 25 November, 2011.
Further information on smoking in cars
Read our article on The law and smoking in vehicles: England
If you work in Scotland, read The law and smoking in vehicles: Scotland