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Call for smoking ban in all vehicles

24th March 2010

The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) wants a review of England's anti-smoking laws to consider a smoking ban in all cars to protect the young.

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Figures from the college say that passive smoking results in 300,000 extra child visits to GPs in the UK every year for problems such as asthma and bacterial meningitis.

However, opponents of such a measure say that cars are a private, not a public, space.

The RCP has produced a report, Passive Smoking and Children, ahead of the review which draws on a series of studies.

Its figures suggest that 20,000 chest infections, some 22,000 new cases of asthma and wheezing, as well as 200 cases of bacterial meningitis and 40 cases of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome arise from passive smoking.

The RCP acknowledges the public would not tolerate a ban on smoking in the home but believe a ban in cars is acceptable.

Professor John Britton, head of the college’s Tobacco Advisory Group and lead author of the report, said: “This report isn't just about protecting children from passive smoking, it's about taking smoking completely out of children's lives.”

The Department of Health say the government is looking at ways to go further to reduce the 9,500 children admitted to hospital every year as a direct result of exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke.

Forest, which campaigns for smokers' rights, questioned the figures used in the report while the Association of British Drivers said the car should be seen as an extension of the home.

 

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