The Government has been advised to consider bringing in legislation to make smoking in cars carrying children illegal.
Conservative peer Lord Ribeiro, a former president of the Royal College of Surgeons, said studies have shown that exposure to second-hand smoke can cause damage to youngsters.
At question time in the House of Lords, Lord Ribeiro said: "The concentration of smoke in the back of a car is considerably greater than in the front even if the driver's window is open.
"Thirty jurisdictions in Canada, Australia and the Unites States have banned smoking in cars when children are present.
"In Canada exposure to smoking fell by a third to a half in some provinces over a six-year period."
Lord Ribeiro asked health minister Earl Howe: "Are you prepared to follow the example of the Welsh assembly to introduce legislation if efforts to change behaviour fail?"
In response, Lord Howe said the Government intends to encourage people to "create family environments free from second-hand smoke". He said the Government is proposing a range of voluntary measures that he thinks can achieve "more quicker than legislation".
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