Top ten myths about the ban on smoking in cars with children

Do you, or someone you know, think the ban on smoking in cars carrying children wouldn't work? Think the law is unenforceable? Think it is the nanny state going to far? Think awareness campaigns are better than having a ban?

All these concerns and more are now addressed on our website as Dr Penny Woods, Chief Executive of the BLF, looks at the Top 10 most common misconceptions about the ban on smoking in cars carrying children. Give it a read if you still have doubts about the ban, and please share it if you have friends who are unsure.

And if, like me, you are convinced that a ban is necessary to protect the health of our have just over one day left to email your MP and tell them!

40 Replies

  • Tobacco industry whinge again all sport was going to stop when they took away sponsorship desperate lies from an industry killing for profit. Hope the politicians are not bought off the same way as plain packs for cigarettes.

  • A shame they didn't think of this years ago. I reckon a few of us on here wouldn't have COPD and other related problems.

  • yes off course your bang on right puff.,,, but many years ago we were actually TRAINED to smoke, every film, every tv prog all smoking in it, adverts like "let capstain take the strain", players "just what the doctor ordered" [would you believe] and off course the old one "the second world war was won on woodbine" in fact the government let the tobacco companies send free thousands of fags to the troops ,just to get shot right left and centre, some of them 16years old, shocking when you think of it now,,,,some of us older ones are trying our best to be "untrained" ,,,very difficult after many years addiction, but at least we now get all the encouragement needed,, the secret is,,, never to start in the first place,,,, thankfully, things are a lot different now, people are more aware of the harm smoking does, but for some this has came too late ,, sorry for the rant, but i am one finding it very difficult to stop,, off course its easy to "wish" i had never started,, but i wish i hadnt, in fact mad at it now.,, but, thankfully i am getting, a day at a time. rant over,,can smile again now getting that off my chest lol.

  • We'll put Jimmy and it's good to have a rant. X

  • So true Jimmy, Nannyb xx

  • That's very true Jimmy, in fact in my young days if you didn`t smoke you were not cool and thought of as strange and an outsider.

    I bang on something terrible at my kids and grandkids not to get involved with the devil tobacco who empties your pockets and robs you of your health and life.

    Training young minds to turn their backs on the deadly habit and assuring them that they are not abnormal just because they don't run with the gang can only be a good thing for everyone.

    Your doing great with the no smoking thing Jimmy, it is hard going but keep at it.

    All the best.


  • Hard to think any parent or adult would expose little lungs to cigarette smoke in such a small confined space.

  • Indeed. Unfortunately, however, 430,000 children are exposed to second hand smoke in the family car at least once a week. This is unacceptable and why we really need to work as hard as we can to protect these children and all those that might be exposed in the future.

  • i agree 100 pc, blakey, shocking really, there no excuse in this day and age.

  • thanks steph, nannyb and tomc,

    after i put that post on, i thought ,,"jimmy, youve went over the top a bit there " lol, then kinda regretted it,,, but glad to see some agreed with me,, and steph, your quite right, why not have a rant now and then,, does you good lol,,jw xxx

  • Doctors and medical experts are backing the ban

  • Great to hear. Hopefully these strong voices will help convince MPs to vote the right way on Monday.

  • As a smoker for fifty years I have to plead guilty to smoking in the car when the children were little. My excuse is that we didn't know any better. Everyone smoked in those days. It was the same with seat belts. The children bounced around in the back of the car without any restraint whatsoever


    Today I would not travel an inch unless the grandchildren were strapped in. it keeps them safer. The same with a smoking ban in cars, it will keep them safe from damaging smoke. I am all for a ban on smoking when children are in a car.


  • I echo Puff's reply and for some unfortunately it will be too little too late.

    True also what Jimmy says, we were actively encouraged to smoke.

    My doc puffed away at his desk. The heart surgeon at the hospital where I did voluntary work bought 40 senior service from me every day.

    I had an ashtray at my bedside when my daughter was born. It was not uncommon to see a mum feeding newborn while holding a fag in her mouth. We simply had no idea. I could go on and on. Staggering to believe now isn't?

    So 'unto the breach, dear friends,' and bend your MP's ears! Thanks Kevin.

  • Sorry hypercat but opening the window is NOT a solution. Even with the Windows open or air conditioning on, toxin levels still well exceed recommended safe limit - and thus is still very dangerous and harmful for the children exposed in the back seat.

    Stats on smoke levels with windows open/closed and several other scenarios are available here:

  • Have you watched our video voiced by Linda Robson? It is all about smoking with the window open. It's not being ignored - it is still a huge problem.

  • Do you have any posters. I have access to two notice boards, I could put one in each?

  • I don't smoke but I can understand how damaging smoke can be. I just object to the government trying to control all aspects of our lives. Try this scenario. Mother driving car stressed out with 3 kids shouting and fighting in the back seat. She reaches for the cigs to calm her nerves oops no not allowed so she drives on getting more and more stressed yelling at the kids. Don't you think this is an accident waiting to happen? This could harm those kids more than a 5 or 10 minute exposure to cigarette smoke.

  • I would suggest taking a course on parenting skills and definitely avoid taking g such children out in the car without another adult present. A bus might be a safer option although the bus driver would insist the parent (whether pappa or mamma) take control over the children or disembark. Think the other passengers may well back the bus driver on this.

    But we digress the post is not about smokers or parenting skills, or about stress levels a parent is experiencing when his / her children are out of control, the post is about protecting children .

  • It was just a scenario and just supposing she was a one parent family so not another adult to take along. Do you have children, siblings argue. I do sometimes wonder about you.

  • Hopefully he or she would still be responsible enough to avoid any danger to the children.

    the post IS concerning protecting the health and life of children.

    Any wondering you may do about me is irrelevant here.

  • I don't think there is ever justification for forcibg il-health on children by smoking in a car with their under-developed lungs. There are far more effective and safer solutions to this scenario.

  • I suppose the poor woman could get out of the car to have her ciggy and possibly catch pneumonia standing in the wind and rain.

    Too many do gooders around these days.

  • I know all the arguments and of course you should not smoke in front of children in car or in house but and it is a big but I see this as the thin end of the wedge now it is the government banning smoking in cars what next eating in cars - texting in your house - just do not agree and think a waste of police time - sorry but kids lungs also get obnoxious fumes from cars straight into their lungs if in a pushchair etc. no one says about this as the motor lobby are strong and powerful in a way the tobacco insustry through their own lies are not.

  • Whilst I approve of a smoking ban in cars with children in, Cocksparra does make a good point. Just where does the government stop ordering people what to do? While I agree with the ban, next week it might be something I am totally opposed to. Perhaps in many cases education is better than legislation.


  • Unfortunately in this case education just has not worked. Nearly half a million 11-15 year olds are exposed to smoke in a car once a week. 200,000 every day.

    I don't think there is any documented precedence for one ban directly leading to another.

    As Dr Penny Woods says in the linked post: "Suggesting that other bans will inevitably follow insults the intelligence of the public to make up their minds on each law on a case-by-case basis."

    Point 7 on the list is definitely worth a read.

  • BLF, the people, the Doctors and medical profession, are pushing the MPs to vote in favour of this.

    The government ordering people not smoke in cars, is a gross misguided conception.

    Avoiding the real issue here, to protect the life and health of the children.

  • It causes great concern because it exceeds safe limits set by the World Health Organisation, which other 'everyday' exposures may not do.

  • Nothing will change unless you want it to. I vote to save future generations of our lung condition, I would hope others with a lung condition would do the same.

  • Hypercat, I understand your concerns, but the British Lung Foundation works very hard to fight for everybody affected by lung disease - to make sure you and others have the very best care possible. We are certainly not anti-smoker.

    This is not about punishing smokers - it is about protecting children from an environment where it is proven they are in danger.

  • Hi stitch I can't talk about all social workers but my son is one and he deplores smoking as he sees me suffer with this illness but in his job he isn't like that most of the time smoking is his last concern. X

  • Steph57 your son will be working under the same limits as all social workers trying to do the best within every case when funding is cut every year. I can see why he would not think smoking around children was safe seeing your suffering.

  • Violence,molesting,alcohol and substance/drug abuse are all included in a court report as negative factors when judgements are made.

    Smoking is a negative for childrens health why should the court ignore this factor.

  • Hi stitch my son has just been here and I brought it up he works in child protection and like he said when it goes to court it is but on the other hand he said some of the abuse and neglect that he has to deal with smoking is not his major concern initially . X

  • looks like I have been missing a good debate here today, have to admit I signed the campaign to ban smoking with children in the car. However I think it will be difficult and even costly to enforce. I really feel parents should care enough not to smoke in the car with their children present. I agree with most of the comments on here and there is no simple answer, as there are two sides to every story including in this case the cost to the tax payer for the government to enforce good health practice for our children. But at the end of the day it is about saving the future health of the nations children.

  • Thanks for supporting the campaign Katie.

    The BLF's infographic on smoking in cars shows that passive smoking in children costs the NHS £23million every year.

  • Hi Katie I agree it would be hard to enforce. Most parents don't smoke in their cars and the ones who do will not take notice of lots of laws.

  • True Steph57 100%

  • Thanks Kevin for Dr Penny Woods myths buster.


  • Fingers crossed for a good outcome this arvo.

    Ban smoking in cars with children present I say, it beggars belief that people still do it.

    Changing the law would at least be a deterrent. Many lives saved since banning use of mobile in cars.

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