New Law to Protect Children From Second Hand SmokeA new law to prevent smoking in cars when children are present comes into force on 1st October, 2015.

Hampshire County Council has been working with Hampshire’s Fire and Rescue Service, district and borough councils, schools, school nurses and NHS commissioners to set up the Step Out programme to encourage smokers to keep their homes and now their cars smoke free to avoid children being subjected to second hand smoke.

Councillor Patricia Stallard, Hampshire County Council’s Executive Member for Health and Public Health said “A survey of 7,000 schoolchildren across Hampshire showed that a third are still being exposed to second hand or passive smoke in the home or car. Second hand smoke has been proven to be harmful to children’s health and the children say that it bothers or annoys them. I welcome this new legislation which will play a significant role in protecting children from the dangers of second hand smoke, and it will encourage smokers to consider the impact second hand smoke has on others.”

The survey revealed that the vast majority of parents, 96%, expected to protect children from the effects of second hand smoke. 94% of people surveyed – including almost all the smokers who participated (87%) – thought that cars should be kept smoke free when children are present and 93% said they already had a smoke free car. People who did not currently keep their car smoke free said that a law banning smoking in cars with children present would be the biggest influence and encourage them to do so.

The first day of October also marks the start of Stoptober, where smokers are encouraged to sign up to a 28 day challenge to go without cigarettes. That same date also sees additional legislation being introduced to regulate the sale of tobacco and nicotine based products, like e-cigarettes. Those people wishing to quit can get help from Hampshire’s Quit4Life service online or by calling them on 0845 6024663.

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