A Labour MP has proposed a Bill to force a ban on adults smoking in cars when children are present.
Alex Cunningham, MP for Stockton North, said the ban was essential to protect children from being exposed to dangerous smoke.
Despite being affected by passive smoking, children are often not in a position to object to someone smoking in their car.
Mr Cunningham also highlighted the issue of 20,000 new cases of children suffering from respiratory problems due to passive smoking, costing the NHS £22 million every year.
Proposing his Smoking in Private Vehicles Bill under the Ten Minute Rule, the MP said: "I know some will say, 'The car is a private space and we should not interfere in it'.
"Adults, I believe, can make up their own minds about the dangers of smoking. It's children we need to protect."
However, he also faces opposition from Tory Philip Davies, Shipley's MP, who said the proposal was "excessive, intrusive and insulting to British parents who smoke".
The Bill may not be passed in Parliament due to lack of time, despite winning the support of MPs, with the vote going 78 to 66.
Copyright © Press Association 2011