Smoking ban decision welcomed

Smoking ban decision welcomed

Medical charities and campaign groups are "delighted" that MPs have backed a plan to ban smoking in cars when children are passengers.

Campaigners say the move could save hundreds of thousands of children from being exposed to second-hand smoke.

MPs voted in favour of legislation which would make smoking in vehicles carrying children illegal. Ministers were granted a free vote on the measure, meaning they were not tied to a party line on the issue. This comes after some MPs, including some members of the cabinet, objected to the idea.

Dr Penny Woods, chief executive of the British Lung Foundation, said that she is delighted with the news, having worked on campaigns around the issue for several years.

She added: "This could prove a great leap forward for the health of our nation's children.

"The introduction of a law that would help prevent hundreds of thousands of children from being exposed to second-hand smoke in the car is now within reach.

"With both Houses of Parliament having made their support for the ban clear, the onus is now on the Government to act accordingly and make this crucial child protection measure law at the earliest opportunity."

The charity said it believes that more than 430,000 children aged 11 to 15 are exposed to second-hand smoke in cars every week.

The British Medical Association (BMA) also welcomed the move, having campaigned on the issue since 2011. The group said it is an "important step forward in reducing tobacco harm".

Copyright Press Association 2014