CIEH backs prohibition on smoking in cars carrying children

Publication Date: 16th July 2014

Subject: Public health

Yesterday the government published: ‘Smoking in private vehicles carrying children – consultation on proposed regulations to be made under the Children and Families Act 2014.’

The government is proceeding with the introduction of regulations and is seeking views on draft regulations before they are made.

The existing smoke-free legislation already protects children when they are travelling in all forms of public transport and the CIEH believes it is entirely sensible that they should also be protected when travelling in private vehicles, whether they are being driven by their parents and family members or anyone else.

Principal policy officer, Ian Gray, said: ‘Polls have shown that the vast majority of people already understand that the confined enclosed space of a motor vehicle is one of the worst places to smoke and the last place that you would want your children to be exposed to other people’s smoking. It can be anticipated therefore that the adoption of this law will act as a further deterrent and that the need for enforcement action will be limited.’

Under the proposed regulations existing smoke-free legislation as set out in the Health Act 2006 will be extended so it would be an offence to smoke or to fail to prevent smoking in a private vehicle with someone under the age of 18 present.

The CIEH recognises that dealing with offences under this legislation will not be without problems and supports the government’s intention that enforcement will mainly be the responsibility of local police who will be able to use their existing powers to stop vehicles and require drivers and passengers to identify themselves. However, the CIEH anticipates that local authorities will also want to authorise some of their own officers so that they can take part in campaigns to promote compliance and deal with offences when information and advice fail to have effect.

Mr Gray concluded: “The CIEH has previously stated that smoking should be considered to be a ‘driver distraction’ as is eating or drinking at the wheel or using a mobile phone, and that an additional measure for government to consider would be a total prohibition on drivers smoking in any motor vehicle on the grounds that smoking constitutes a hazard to safe driving.”

The consultation will run until 27 August 2014.

Notes to editors: 

For media enquiries please contact Brian Cowan on 020 7827 5922 or 07721 456727 or email 

About the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health: 

The CIEH is the professional voice for environmental health representing over 10,000 members working in the public, private and non-profit sectors. It ensures the highest standards of professional competence in its members, in the belief that through environmental health action people's health can be improved

The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) is a leading provider of regulated qualifications in health and safety, food safety, environmental management, fire safety and first aid and operates in over 50 countries

Over 10 million people around the world from the UK to the USA and the Middle East hold a CIEH qualification

The CIEH’s clients range from small businesses to multinational enterprises like the InterContinental Hotels Group. We work with governmental bodies in Hong Kong as well as international agencies like the United Nations

The CIEH’s 60 qualification training programmes are delivered through a network of over 10,000 registered trainers. The training is developed for the varied skill levels within organisations. They cater to different learning styles and preferences through a series of flexible structures. CIEH qualifications are valued and recognised throughout the world

15Hatfields is the organisation’s sustainable venue 

For more information about the CIEH visit 


print Print | email Email