What is happening?
From October 1 2015, it will be illegal for retailers to sell e-cigarettes or e-liquids to someone under 18; for adults to buy (or attempt to buy) tobacco or e-cigarettes for someone under 18 and to smoke in a car or other vehicle when someone under the age of 18 is present.
What are the rules on smoking in my car?
- ALL private vehicles (including hire cars) must be smoke free if they are enclosed, there is more than one person present and one of them is under 18.
- It will be an offence for a person of any age to smoke in a car (or other private vehicle) with anyone under 18 present. And for a driver (including those aged 17 and people with a provisional licence) not to stop someone smoking in these circumstances.
- The law does not apply if the driver is 17 years old and is on their own in the car.
- The rules apply to every driver in England and Wales.
What is an enclosed vehicle?
This means any vehicle that is either fully or partially enclosed by a roof. The law will still apply if people have their windows or sunroof open, have air conditioning on or have a door of an enclosed vehicle open.
What if I use e-cigarettes?
The rules won't apply to you.
What is the penalty?
The fixed penalty notice fine for both offences is £50 and both the driver and the smoker could be fined, whatever their age. Somebody who commits both offences could get two fines.
The law does not apply if the driver is 17-years-old and is smoking on their own in a car.
Enforcement officers will decide whether a warning or fixed penalty notice will be issued or if they offence should be referred to court.
Why is the law changing?
The Department of Heath says: "Every time a child breathes in secondhand smoke, they breathe in thousands of chemicals. This puts them at risk of serious conditions, such as meningitis, cancer and respiratory infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia. It can also make asthma worse.
"Secondhand smoke is dangerous for anyone, but children are especially vulnerable, because they breathe more rapidly and have less developed airways, lungs and immune systems. Over 80% of cigarette smoke is invisible and opening windows does not remove its harmful effect.
"The law is changing to protect children and young people from such harm."
Submitted by Graeme Murdoch, 15th September 2015