In October 2015 the banning of smoking in vehicles with children under the age of 18 came into effect in both England and Wales. Scotland has now jumped on the bandwagon with the banning implemented by their government this week.
This ban forms part of the Scottish government’s plans to lower the smoking rate to less than 5% in 2034, in the hopes that it will eventually lead to a “tobacco-free” generation.
Those who disobey the law will be fined £100, that’s R1 753.73 on the spot. If the case goes to court, they will need to pay £1,000, which is R17 534.79.
South African tobacco legislation states, “No person may smoke in any vehicle or car when a child under the age of 12 years is present in that vehicle.”
An overwhelming amount of research has been done on the effects of smoking, secondhand smoking and more specifically smoking in vehicles in the presence of minors.
Also read: Car safety tips for children
Here are some of the risks to children associated with smoking in vehicles:
Smoking is dangerous to anyone but more specifically to children as they are still developing. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), children are at risk of increased rates of lower respiratory illness, middle ear effusion, asthma, and sudden infant death syndrome.
Children under the age of six who are exposed to secondhand smoke are at risk of getting respiratory tract infections, such as bronchitis and pneumonia.
The AAP concluded that exposure during childhood to tobacco smoke may lead to the development of cancer in adulthood.
Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health found “alarming” levels of secondhand smoke and concluded, “smoking in cars under typical driver and traffic conditions provides potentially unsafe secondhand smoke exposure”.
A survey released in 2013 found that 82% of American adults prefer prohibiting smoking in vehicles with children present. Should this law be implemented in South Africa next?