Wales smoking ban in cars with children from October

Mark Drakeford says smokers know there is a risk to children

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A ban on smoking in cars carrying children will be introduced in Wales on 1 October, Health Minister Mark Drakeford has confirmed.

People caught flouting the new law will face a £50 on-the-spot fine.

Health charities welcomed the move, with a similar ban coming into force in England on the same day.

Welsh ministers held a consultation on the proposals to protect under-18s from second-hand smoke last autumn.

Second-hand smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals, many of which are harmful.

Exposure has been linked to chest infections, asthma, ear problems and cot death in children.

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Almost one child in 10 in Wales says smoking is allowed in their family car, according to recent research although that proportion has halved since 2008.

"Children and young people have the right to breathe clean air and enjoy smoke-free environments," Mr Drakeford said on Thursday.

"Protecting children from exposure to second-hand smoke will help give them the best start in life.

"Introducing regulations to stop people smoking in cars carrying children will help us to do this."

E-cigarettes will not be banned under the measures, Mr Drakeford confirmed.

The police will be responsible for enforcing the ban as part of their road safety duties.

The British Lung Foundation says the move is "a tremendous victory for the thousands of children being exposed to second-hand smoke every week."

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ANALYSIS: Dr Amy Brown, associate professor in public health at Swansea University
Dr Amy Brown

"Even smoking in a car for a few minutes on the school run for example, will have an impact.

"Smoking in a stationary car - which may be stuck in traffic in the school rush - can raise levels of smoke in that car up to 11 times that you would experience in a enclosed room where someone is smoking such as in bars and pubs before the smoking ban.

"If the car is moving this reduces to seven times the level but even if the windows are open and the smoker holds the cigarette by the window this is still the same as sitting in a smoky room.

"Even smoking in a car when the children are not in it can have an impact on their health.

"Firstly it can take a couple of hours for smoke to actually clear properly from a car.

"Secondly we now know that there is such a thing as 'third hand smoke' where the particles from the smoke collect on surfaces, particularly soft surfaces, such as car seats. They can remain there for months after a cigarette has been smoked."

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