From the beginning of this month, it will be illegal to smoke in a car (or other vehicles) with anyone under 18 present. The law is changing to protect children and young people from the dangers of second-hand smoke.
Both the driver and the smoker could be fined £50. The law applies to every driver in England and Wales, including those aged 17 and those with a provisional driving licence. The law does not apply if the driver is 17 years old and is on their own in the car.
The law applies to any private vehicle that is enclosed wholly or partly by a roof. It still applies if people have the windows or sunroof open, have the air conditioning on, or if they sit in the open doorway of the vehicle. The law won’t apply to a convertible car with the roof completely down.
What the new changes are
From 1 October 2015 it will be illegal:
- for retailers to sell electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) or e-liquids to someone under 18.
- for adults to buy (or try to buy) tobacco products or e-cigarettes for someone under 18.
- to smoke in private vehicles that are carrying someone under 18.
Rules about smoking in private vehicles
From 1 October 2015, private vehicles must be smokefree if they are enclosed, there is more than one person present and one of them is under 18.
So it will be an offence:
- for a person of any age to smoke in a private vehicle that is carrying someone who is under 18.
- for a driver (including a provisional driver) not to stop someone smoking in these circumstances.
The rules don’t apply to e-cigarettes.
What classes as an enclosed vehicle
The legislation covers any private vehicle that is enclosed wholly or partly by a roof. A convertible car, or coupe, with the roof completely down and stowed is not enclosed and so isn’t covered by the legislation. But a vehicle with a sunroof open is still enclosed and so is covered by the legislation.
Sitting in the open doorway of an enclosed vehicle is covered by the legislation.
The rules apply to motorhomes, campervans and caravans when they are being used as a vehicle but don’t apply when they are being used as living accommodation.
The rules don’t apply to:
- boats, ships and aircraft, as they have their own rules
- work vehicles and public transport, as they are already covered by smokefree legislation