UK campaigners call for ban on smoking in cars

Tue Oct 7, 2008 6:56am EDT
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By Michael Holden

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - British anti-smoking pressure group ASH has asked the government to consider a ban on smoking in cars in an attempt to protect children and young people from second-hand smoke.

The appeal comes in a report by the group, Action on Smoking and Health, that said smoking now costs Britain's state-run National Health Service (NHS) 2.7 billion pounds ($4.74 billion) a year, a billion more than a decade ago.

The cost would have risen to more than 3 billion pounds annually had action not led to a fall in the number of smokers from 12 to nine million, it added.

The report called for the British government to take more action in health legislation to be unveiled in December, with demands for plain packaging of tobacco products and a ban on shop displays.

It also wants "serious consideration" of a ban on smoking behind the wheel.

Such a move, it noted, had been taken by some authorities in South Africa, Canada, the U.S. and Australia and it argued there was majority public support in Britain for a ban in vehicles carrying children.

"Children and young people are also regularly exposed to second-hand smoke in cars where levels of toxins can get extremely high, even when windows are opened," it said.

"Effective measures to protect people from the harmful effects of tobacco smoke in cars should be investigated."   Continued...