Holyrood committee backs kids in car smoking ban

Motorists could be fined one hundred pounds for breaking the new law should it come to pass. Picture: John Devlin
Motorists could be fined one hundred pounds for breaking the new law should it come to pass. Picture: John Devlin
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LEGISLATION to ban smoking in cars when children are present has been backed by Holyrood’s Health Committee.

The Smoking Prohibition (Children in Motor Vehicles) (Scotland) Bill would see a ban in Scotland on smoking in private vehicles while a child under 18 is on board.

Motorists could potentially be fined £100 for breaching the rule if the Bill, introduced by Liberal Democrat MSP Jim Hume, becomes law.

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It has already been backed in principle by the Scottish Government, Scottish Labour and health charities.

In its stage one report on the Bill, the Health Committee has proposed that drivers should also be criminally liable for allowing someone to smoke in their vehicle in the presence of an under-18.

While it supports the use of a fixed-penalty notice, it has also asked Mr Hume and the Government to consider if an alternative such as an education programme could also be put in place.

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Committee convener Duncan McNeil said: “From our work into this issue it became clear that there is strong public support for this legislation.

“Our committee believes that no child should have to experience the effects of second hand smoke in cars and that this legislation will tackle significantly this harmful behaviour.

“Whilst the person smoking should be held criminally responsible, we have also proposed that a similar sanction should be in place for the driver.

“This would also provide consistency with similar legislation in England and Wales.”

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Under Mr Hume’s proposals, if a ban is brought in, officers from Police Scotland would be charged with enforcing it.

The committee’s deputy convener Bob Dorris said: “A key factor in the success of these proposals will be an effective enforcement regime.

“We would support this being extended to local authorities who could work alongside Police Scotland to effectively enforce this law, should it be passed by the Parliament.”