Taking action on smoking and health
Second-hand smoke (SHS) is a serious health hazard and exposure to the pollutants and carcinogens in SHS increases the risk of acute and chronic health conditions, hospital admission, and death. Smoking in cars causes harm both to the smoker and to others in the vehicle, and children are particularly vulnerable to harm from SHS.
Figures from the SALSUS report that in 2013, 22% of 13 and 15 year olds in Scotland were exposed to SHS in cars at least 'sometimes', with 7% reporting exposure during 'all/most' of their car journeys.
Following a debate in the Scottish Parliament in December 2015, the Smoking Prohibition (Children in Vehicles) Bill has passed into law, and is expected to come into force in 2016 after the Scottish Government drafts appropriate regulations. We expect an implementation date to be announced soon.
Because so many children in Scotland are exposed to this harm ASH Scotland supported the Member Bill tabled by Jim Hume MSP, Liberal Democrat Member for South Scotland, in the Scottish Parliament. The Bill set out a prohibition on smoking in a car with an under-18 present. ASH Scotland submitted evidence to the Health and Sport Committee about the Bill.
Following unanimous agreement that it should continue, the Bill passed stage one parliamentary scrutiny and quickly progressed through Stage 2 amendments. ASH Scotland circulated a final briefing to MSPs before the Stage 3 debate on December 17 2015, when the Bill was passed unanimously into law.
A 2014 YouGov poll revealed that 75% of Scottish adults (61% of smokers) agreed that smoking should be banned in cars that are carrying chidren younger than 18 years old, making this a measure strongly supported by the public.
Other countries, including England & Wales, Canada, Australia, and several US states and territories, have already introduced bans on smoking in cars with children present.
In 2013, ASH Scotland prepared a comprehensive review of the available scientific evidence on the issue of smoking in vehicles.
Download the review in full (pdf).
The review finds that:
Action on Smoking & Health (Scotland) (ASH Scotland) is a registered Scottish charity (SC 010412) and a company limited by guarantee(Scottish company no 141711). The registered office is 8 Frederick Street, Edinburgh EH2 2HB.
ASH Scotland acknowledges with thanks the support of the British Heart Foundation and the Scottish Government in developing our website.