From 1 October 2015 it will be illegal to smoke in vehicles with anyone under 18 present.

The law is changing to protect children and young people from the dangers of second-hand smoke. Every time a child breathes in second-hand smoke, they breathe in thousands of chemicals, putting them at risk of serious conditions, such as meningitis, cancer and respiratory infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia. It can also make asthma worse.

The change in the law applies to every driver in England and Wales, including those aged 17 and those with a provisional driving licence. The law does not apply if the driver is 17 years old and is on their own in the car.

It will become an offence:

  • for a person of any age to smoke in a private vehicle that is carrying someone who is under 18
  • for a driver (including a provisional driver) not to stop someone smoking in a private vehicle that is carrying someone who is under 18

Both the driver and the smoker could be fined £50, but enforcement officers (usually the police) will use their discretion to decide whether to issue a warning or a fixed penalty notice, or whether to refer an offence to court.

The law applies to any private vehicle that is enclosed wholly or partly by a roof. It still applies if people have the windows or sunroof open, have the air conditioning on, or if they sit in the open doorway of the vehicle. The law won’t apply to a convertible car with the roof completely down.

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