No smoking allowed in vehicles if travelling with children
If you’re in the car with the kids, or even with teenagers, and you find yourself reaching for a cigarette, stop and think again.
The new legislation came into force in Gibraltar yesterday, making it illegal for anyone over the age of 18 to light up if anyone under that age is with them, in an enclosed motor vehicle in a public place. An ‘enclosed vehicle’ is defined as one that is covered wholly or partly by a roof.
This latest legislation is a follow-on from the 2012 Smoke-Free Environment Act that made it an offence to smoke in public places and public service vehicles in Gibraltar. It is broadly similar to legislation that is already in force in several other countries. These include the UK, France, South Africa, much of Australia, Canada, and the USA.
The reasoning behind the new regulation is clear. Passive smoking, which is the inhaling of secondhand smoke, has been proven to put children at risk of serious conditions such as meningitis, asthma, cancer, bronchitis and pneumonia.
Gibraltar’s Minister for Health, Dr. John Cortes, says that smoking just one cigarette in a vehicle exposes children to high levels of air pollutants and cancer-causing chemicals such as arsenic, formaldehyde and tar. “People often wrongly assume that opening a window, or letting in fresh air, will lessen the damage,” he points out.
Research carried out in the UK has shown that this clearly is not the case. Even with a car window open, levels of dangerous chemicals are over 100 times higher than recommended safety guidelines. Experts say that no matter what the situation, if someone is smoking in the presence of children they will always be exposed to dangerous chemicals that can put them at risk of developing serious health conditions. Doctors point out that in a car, there is nowhere for the smoke to disperse and it builds up in the back of the vehicle, which is normally where the children are sitting. “Adults can choose whether to smoke; children can’t,” they say.
The new law applies to any private vehicle that is enclosed wholly or partly by a roof, even if the window is open, the air conditioning is on or the smoker is sitting in the open doorway of the vehicle.source surinenlish