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New regulations to make smoking in cars carrying children illegal

On 13 March 2014, the Children and Families Act was granted royal assent.

The Act gave the Secretary of State for Health the power to legislate against smoking in private vehicles when children were present (ASH Factsheet).

On 11 February 2015 the first amendment to the children and families bill in the House of Commons was passed, which empowered, but did not compel, ministers to bring in a ban on smoking in cars carrying children. 376 MPs voted in favour of the ban, with 107 opposing.

The move followed the proposal in January 2015 to introduce plain cigarette packaging in England and Wales.

Commenting on the successful passing of regulation, Chief Medical Officer Professor Dame Sally Davies suggested that it was a significant step towards 'protecting children's health from second-hand smoke'.

Regulations came into force on 1 October 2015 and smoking in cars when children were present became illegal in England and Wales.

Under the new rules both the driver and the person smoking – if different people – could be fined £50. The regulation would apply whether or not windows were open and air conditioning was on, but it did not affect the use of e-cigarettes or smoking in convertible cars with the roof completely down.


Department of Health and Social Care.
Smoking in vehicles [webpage].
Department of Health and Social Care; 2015.

Press Association.
MPs approve ban on smoking in cars with children.
The Guardian; 2015.

MPs vote to ban smoking in cars carrying children.
NHS; 2014.

MPs consider Lords amendments to children and families bill.
parliament.uk; 2014.

Action on Smoking and Health.
Fact sheet no. 24; Smoking in cars.
Action of Smoking and Health; 2018.