St Helens is showing the way forward for national politicians attempting to ban smoking in cars when children under 18 are on board.
A Government consultation on draft regulations to outlaw lighting up on the move when young people are present is about to close.
The measure gained strong support in Parliament, with 376 MPs voting in favour of the ban for a majority of 269.
The moves at Westminster come a year after the hugely-successful St Helens Smokefree Homes and Cars scheme, which saw more than 1200 people in the town pledge to banish cigarettes from their houses and vehicles.
Coun Andy Bowden, cabinet member for public health and well-being at St Helens Council, said: “This is great news for children and another step closer to protecting them from second-hand smoke.
“Many people in St Helens have shown their support for smoke free cars through the St Helens Smokefree homes and cars scheme, and they can have their say on a national scheme through this consultation on the draft regulations.”
Research suggests strong support across the region for a ban on smoking in cars transporting children under 18, with a recent YouGov poll finding 80 per cent of those questioned in the North West supporting the measure and only seven per cent opposing it.
The Government has been canvassing opinion on the draft regulations bringing a ban into force for several weeks, with the proposals explanining how such a ban would work.
The measure has attracted significant support in the House of Commons, with the move attracting a much bigger majority than the one which introduced laws to ban smoking in public places in 2007.
The Department of Health hopes the ban will ensure more children get a healthier start in life and will also deter young people from beginning smoking.
The ban is widely supported among health organisations such as the British Medical Association (BMA), which has been campaigning for legislation on lighting up in cars since 2011, but has attracted opposition from smokers’ groups such as Forest who have branded it unnecessarily intrusive.