Stub out smoking in cars or lay off those who have been “persecuted too much” - what your MPs think

Should smoking be banned in cars with children? Should smoking be banned in cars with children?

Monday, February 10, 2014
1:48 PM

“Persecuted” smokers should be left in peace, a Norfolk MP has said as the region’s Westminster politicians prepare to vote on whether to ban people smoking in cars which are carrying children.

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What the MPs say

AGAINST: South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon: “I imagine I will voting against any further restrictions on it, not because I am a fan of smoking, I think it is a disgusting habit and I would discourage anyone from doing it, but the first question I ask myself about banning people from smoking in cars is ‘do the police not have better things to do?’, including the fight against the human trafficking and the war against drugs.

“We should leave them (smokers) in peace. They have been persecuted too much.”

FOR: North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb: “The effects of smoke in cars are 11 times worse than in an open space. Half a million children are exposed to second-hand smoke in cars every week.

“Children are entitled to be protected from the effects of toxic smoke when they are travelling in cars, and when they cannot avoid the effects of smoke.”

AGAINST: North-West Norfolk Henry Bellingham: “It is a question of my head ruling my heart. My heart says it would be a good thing in some ways because you should not smoke in a confined space with babies or children.

“But it would be very difficult to enforce.”

FOR: Norwich South MP Simon Wright: “Second-hand smoke poses a great risk to children. This risk is multiplied when in a car, even with the window down or air conditioning on, because of the sheer intensity of exposure.

“Yes, there will be those who claim that such a ban would be illiberal. However, society has accepted the need for legislation over seat belts, speed limits, and baby seats – all of which restrict liberties in order to protect passengers.”

AGAINST: South-west Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss: “I will not be supporting the proposal to ban smoking in cars. It would be extremely difficult to enforce and I think that ensuring your child is not exposed to smoke is the responsibility of parents.”

UNDECIDED: Norwich North MP Chloe Smith said: “I can see arguments for and against. In context, we’ll be looking at other measures that try to discourage children from taking up smoking themselves, whilst smoking in cars is about harm done by others.

“I’m a Conservative because I believe in general that people make responsible decisions themselves better than when we set up complicated enforcement mechanisms that the taxpayer has to fund.”

UNDECIDED: Great Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis: “I am a Conservative. I do not believe in that big brother approach, but I am against people smoking when they are driving from a safety point of view as well. They should not just have one hand on the steering wheel.

“I can see the arguments both ways. I have no vested interests, but I think it is a matter of education and peer pressure.”

UNDECIDED: Mid-Norfolk MP George Freeman said: “While we need to be mindful that the difficulties of enforcement don’t make a mockery of the law, and this doesn’t become another pointless by-product of a nanny state, all of us know that smoking is incredibly harmful and that children passive smoking is deeply damaging for their health.”

AGAINST: Broadland MP Keith Simpson: “I will not vote in favour of banning smoking in cars with children. I think it is a step too far. It would be difficult for the police to really do a lot about it. Personally I do not smoke and I would not be happy about a child of mine going in a car where someone was smoking. But I think it is a step too far.”

FOR: Peter Aldous, Waveney MP: “Passive smoking in a confined space can cause a variety of respiratory illnesses and lung infections to which children are particularly vulnerable.

“Adults can exercise the right not to travel in cars where others are smoking, whilst children are invariably not in a position to do so. It is thus right that measures are introduced to protect them from the seriously harmful effect of passive smoking in cars.

FOR: Steve Barclay, North East Cambridgeshire MP: “I do not support smoking in a car with children present.”

South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon said police time would be better spent in the fight against the human trafficking and the war against drugs, adding “we have got to wean ourselves off the idiotic idea that every time we want to solve a problem we need to pass a law”.

It puts him at odds with health minister and Lib Dem MP Norman Lamb who will vote in favour of the ban today, claiming it is a “fundamental principle of liberalism” that the state can only intervene in people’s lives in order to protect individuals from harm.

He said: “It seems to me there is a very clear case here for protecting children from something which we know can do permanent, and serious, medical harm,” he added.

MPs will be given a free vote today on the smoking ban. The Children and Families Bill was amended in the House of Lords last month after Labour tabled an amendment which would give the health secretary the power to make it illegal to smoke in a car carrying children. Peers have now accepted a Government-backed version of the amendment.

The cabinet is also split on the issue, with deputy prime minister Nick Clegg opposing the ban along with Ken Clarke and communities secretary Eric Pickles warning that it could lead to children being put on the “at risk register”.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt is said to be backing the ban, with David Cameron saying he will “listen carefully” to the debate before deciding on how to vote.

On Friday around 700 medics and health experts called on the government to ban smoking in cars carrying children.

In a letter to the British Medical Journal (BMJ), respiratory experts said secondhand smoke was a “major cause of ill health in children”, damaging the developing lungs, causing sudden infant death and leading to thousands of hospital trips every year.

What do you think about smoking in cars. Should it be banned? 
Email EDPletters@archant.co.uk or write to the Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE giving your full name and address.

13 comments

  • It won't be enforced anyway.

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    Cyril the Canary

    Monday, February 10, 2014

  • People who smoke are stupid. Their health and wallet suffer. Of course stupid people also have children. But for the state to legislate to stop smoking in cars which contain children is one step too far. What next ,a ban on smoking in houses where the said children live? Who will monitor and arrest these new criminals? The police? They cannot catch burglars and in many cases do not even try. A new bunch of plastic bobbies with powers to raid the houses where children live in danger of second hand smoke? The far worse danger to health is alcohol and what about parents who drink whilst carrying chidren? Alcohol causes more deaths,violence and physical abuse than tobacco. Yet, this remains untouched by law. Too much money being made perhaps?

    Report this comment

    norman hall

    Wednesday, February 12, 2014

  • well what a ridiculous thing banning smoking in cars i am 71 years of age and do listen everyone MY DOCTOR SAID TO ME IM SO GLAD YOU DID NOT SMOKE BUT I MIGHT AS WELL HAVE DONE MY MUM AND DAD SMOKED LIKE TROOPERS ALL THE PLACE CEILINGS AND DOORS WHERE BROWN SO WHY BAN IT IN CARS ONLY ITS BLINKING LAUGHABLE ALL YOU NUT CASES WHO WANT IT BANNED IN CARS WHAT ABOUT HOMES AS WELL

    Report this comment

    bultitude1

    Monday, February 10, 2014

  • A person willing to inhale a cocktail of toxic by-products of combustion to satisfy an addiction to a poisonous vegetable alkaloid is, by definition, an idiot. Idiots do tend to be unable to abide by the law. Yet perhaps we should admire those skilful drivers who can light and smoke cigarettes or use mobile phones when driving. Personally I find my mind totally occupied with controlling the vehicle. With regard to the feasibility of enforcement we can consider the analogy of keeping a dog and not allowing it to defecate on the pavement or bite people. These are laws that most people abide by without the need for fascist style policing.

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    The Fortean

    Tuesday, February 11, 2014

  • In principle, not a bad idea. Second hand smoke can certainly damage children's health.However, as has already been pointed out, if the Police can'twon't enforce on illegal drug use, what hope is there for enforcing this? The use of things like cannabis in front of children will certainly have all the physical health risks of cigarette smoke and badly damage their mental health as well. If we are serious about protecting a child's health, we must address this issue first.

    Report this comment

    broadsman

    Monday, February 10, 2014

  • well what a ridiculous thing banning smoking in cars i am 71 years of age and do listen everyone MY DOCTOR SAID TO ME IM SO GLAD YOU DID NOT SMOKE BUT I MIGHT AS WELL HAVE DONE MY MUM AND DAD SMOKED LIKE TROOPERS ALL THE PLACE CEILINGS AND DOORS WHERE BROWN SO WHY BAN IT IN CARS ONLY ITS BLINKING LAUGHABLE ALL YOU NUT CASES WHO WANT IT BANNED IN CARS WHAT ABOUT HOMES AS WELL

    Report this comment

    bultitude1

    Monday, February 10, 2014

  • In principle, not a bad idea. Second hand smoke can certainly damage children's health.However, as has already been pointed out, if the Police can'twon't enforce on illegal drug use, what hope is there for enforcing this? The use of things like cannabis in front of children will certainly have all the physical health risks of cigarette smoke and badly damage their mental health as well. If we are serious about protecting a child's health, we must address this issue first.

    Report this comment

    broadsman

    Monday, February 10, 2014

  • Volentry Norfolk allow the drivers to smoke in car .should be like taxi no Smokeing .

    Report this comment

    maureenmarney@aol.com

    Monday, February 10, 2014

  • So if taxi and bussers trains coachers.and planes.why voluntary Norfolk who drives vunerable people arround and children .blind as well.why haven't they gone no Smokeing in drivers car ⁉

    Report this comment

    maureenmarney@aol.com

    Monday, February 10, 2014

  • It is unbelievable that smoking is still allowed in any vehicle whilst moving. Stories of people getting fined for drinking water whilst stationary at traffic lights come to mind. What about smokers lighting up, knocking off their ash or extinguishing their cancer sticks while moving on the roads? I'm astounded Health & Safety haven't had something to say about this yet and not just about second hand smoke.

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    Blue

    Monday, February 10, 2014

  • Have these politicians got nothing better to do? If people are stupid enough to smoke next to their children in a confined place, then would they take any notice of a ban that can't really be enforced, like the use of mobile phones whilst driving, you still see people doing this every single day. Why not ban making stupid laws banning things?

    Report this comment

    Cuthbert J. Twillie

    Monday, February 10, 2014

  • I do not support smoking and since the smoking in public buildings ban I have developed a sensitivity to any traces of smoke in the air. I have not read much about this but like Cyril I really cannot see how the police have the time to identify those who need to be prosecuted. Then there is the seriousness of the outcomes, does the state pursue this with supervision of the children affected or will this be dealt with by a fine which given the chances of prosecution are no deterrent. Would it not be logical to then take this to include no smoking in homes where children reside? Which again would have to rely on someone affected reporting breeches.

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    George Ezekial

    Monday, February 10, 2014

  • Gosh this story has got long legs, what do our lollypop ladies think of the issue and what about teachers? will that be another article? As for Richard bacons objections, does he not know that Nicotin is the most incidious drug there is? the one children are exposed first to?

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Monday, February 10, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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