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Health Professionals In The North West Welcome MPs’ Support To Protect Children And Young People From Tobacco

Tobacco Free Futures (TFF), which has campaigned for smokefree cars and standardised packaging in the North West, is celebrating the decision by Parliament to support key amendments which will give the Health Secretary the power to protect children and young people by:

  • Making it an offence to smoke in cars where children under 18 are present
  • Requiring cigarettes and other tobacco products to be sold in standardised packaging

The Children and Families Bill also includes an amendment prohibiting the purchase of tobacco on behalf of under18s and banning the sale of e-cigarettes to under 18s.

TFF has led a campaign to prevent smoking in cars carrying children and produced a short film in partnership with the British Lung Foundation, released in December 2013 starring Hollyoaks actress Jazmine Franks and Peep Show actor Neil Fitzmaurice. The film highlighted that many young people are too frightened to speak up about their parents or other adults smoking in a car.

Dr James Bunn, Consultant Paediatrician at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital who has highlighted the dangers of smoking in cars carrying children said: “Smoking in enclosed spaces around children exposes their vulnerable lungs to smoke and increases the risk of bronchitis, chest infections and cot death. It can also trigger asthma symptoms and is associated with increased ear infections which may lead to hearing impairment, avoidable operations and time off school.

“Introducing a law for smokefree cars could help to prevent thousands of GP and hospital attendances each year and would be expected to improve the health of children and young people across the North West.”

Andrea Crossfield, Chief Executive of Tobacco Free Futures said; “We are delighted that Parliament has put the health of young people first and has supported these amendments.

“We have been working hard with our partners over the last five years to raise awareness of the dangers associated with smoky cars throughout the North West. Our film produced with the British Lung Foundation was viewed by over 4,500 people, with many people voting and sending letters to their MP. We would like to thank everyone in the region for this amazing response.

“Support is strong with 84% of the North West public in favour of smokefree cars when carrying under 18s and we are happy MPs have listened and implemented the amendment which brings legislation a step closer. The evidence base for standardised packaging of tobacco products is also clear. We call upon the Government to act now and implement legislation on both measures at the earliest opportunity with the full support of the public, medical bodies and Parliament.”.

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