South Scotland

MSP Jim Hume launches child car smoking ban bill

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Media captionScottish Liberal Democrat MSP Jim Hume has introduced the bill

A South of Scotland MSP has formally launched a bill at Holyrood to prevent smoking in cars with children in them.

Lib Dem Jim Hume says it would give youngsters the "healthiest start in life".

He lodged draft proposals for a bill in May last year calling for a ban in Scotland on smoking in private vehicles while a child under 18 is present.

Motorists could potentially be fined £100 for breaching the rule if it becomes law.

Mr Hume said: "Today my bill to stop smoking in cars whilst children are present is now formally laid at parliament.

"This means that the legislation could be in place before the next Scottish Parliament elections."

He said he was "delighted" that Scottish Labour had supported the move.

"A shocking 60,000 children each week are exposed to second-hand smoke in vehicles," he added.

"This bill is about guaranteeing that children in Scotland can have the freedom to go on and lead healthy lives if they choose to. "

A wide range of health organisations have backed his proposals.

Dr Peter Bennie, chairman of the British Medical Association Scotland, said: "Smoking in vehicles is a source of concentrated second hand smoke (SHS), and as children are still developing they are at particular risk.

"The evidence for extending smoke-free legislation is compelling and we would encourage the Scottish Parliament to support the introduction of a ban on smoking in vehicles with children present."

'Dangerous second-hand smoke'

However, senior lecturer in sociology at Abertay University, Dr Stuart Waiton told BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme he was opposed to the move.

He said: "I think there is a trend at the moment towards more regulation and more laws, especially around safety.

"As far as I can tell, politicians should really now be called risk managers because that seems to be what they spend most of their time doing, especially when it comes to child safety.

"Politicians seem to think they have got carte blanche and they can just run with it.

"On top of that, there's also a trend towards interfering in the family now. There's a worrying trend towards undermining the rights of parents and undermining people's privacy."

However, in the same discussion, Ruaraidh Dobson from the British Lung Foundation disagreed: "I think this is a very sensible, very moderate measure, that's been shown to protect children from dangerous second-hand smoke.

"We all know second-hand smoke is bad and is particularly dangerous for children: they've got smaller lungs and breathe faster than adults."

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