Health chiefs in St Helens have welcomed a Government plan to ban smoking in cars which are carrying children.
Subject to parliamentary approval, existing smoke-free legislation will be extended from October to make it an offence to smoke – or fail to prevent smoking - in a private vehicle while someone under 18 is present.
There is already widespread support for the move, both among the public and politicians. A poll conducted by YouGov found that 80 per cent of people in the North West agreed with the move - with just seven per cent opposing it.
St Helens Council’s director of public health, Liz Gaulton, said: “We welcome these regulations – which will help protect children from the effects of second hand smoke. Half of the children in the borough live in households where an adult smokes – which can lead to asthma and breathing difficulties. These regulations will help to protect our children.”
Coun Andy Bowden, cabinet member for public health and wellbeing, agreed: “St Helens Council supports these measures to protect children’s health – there is plenty of public support behind it and evidence to justify it.
“St Helens was the first council in Merseyside to sign up to the Local Authority tobacco declaration and is working with local people and partners today for a tobacco-free tomorrow.”
The British Lung Foundation estimates that around 430,000 UK children are exposed to second-hand smoke in their family car every week.