Ban on smoking in vehicles

27th September, 2015

Ban on smoking in vehicles

With the significant resources at its disposal the Scottish Government can often dominate the legislative agenda.

But there are times when members of the Scottish Parliament are able to find some space on the busy Parliamentary timetable to put forth their own pieces of legislation which can make a positive difference to people’s lives.

Indeed, last week, the Parliament’s Health Committee which I convene, fully endorsed a law drafted by the Liberal Democrat MSP Jim Hume, which would introduce a ban on smoking in vehicles in the presence of those who are under 18.

Over 95% of those who submitted evidence to the committee’s inquiry backed the proposal. The general public are also largely supportive. A 2015 YouGov survey commissioned by ASH Scotland found that 85% of Scottish adults overall and 72% of smokers were in favour of the ban.

During the course of its inquiry the committee was told that levels of second-hand smoke increase to over eleven times those of a smoky pub when a cigarette is smoked in a stationary car with the windows closed.

We also heard that over 4,000 new cases of respiratory infection, wheeze and asthma in Scottish children could be avoided every year by reducing the exposure of children to passive smoking.

Over the years education campaigns have made some headway in tackling misconceptions about second-hand smoke. But when one considers such evidence it is clear that more needs to be done.

If this law is passed by Parliament, it will send out a clear message about the harm second hand smoke can have on children.

After similar legislation was introduced in Canada, the committee was informed that there was a 33% reduction in children being exposed to second-hand smoke.  I hope we will see a similar impact here in Scotland.