Wednesday November 16th, 2011 23:11 BMA Calls for Smoking Ban to be Extended to Private Vehicles

The British Medical Association (BMA) has called on the UK government to extend the current ban on smoking in public places to private vehicles.

After an extensive period of research, the BMA believe that there is compelling evidence that shows just how exposed non-smokers are to the effects of second-hand smoke in vehicles. According to the BMA’s review, the restrictive and enclosed environment of motor vehicles leaves drivers and passengers exposed to 23 times more toxins than you would get in one of those smoky bars we used to frequently frequent.

Of those at risk, it is unsurprisingly children who are most at risk. This is because they absorb more pollutants than adults. A child’s immune system, in comparison to an adult’s, is also under developed, and this means that they lack the necessary defences to combat the effects of second-hand smoke.

The BMA’s Director of Professional Activities, Dr Vivienne Nathanson, said: “The UK made a huge step forward in the fight against tobacco by banning smoking in all enclosed public places but more can still be done.” She continued: “We are calling on UK governments to take the bold and courageous step of banning smoking in private vehicles. The evidence for extending the smoke-free legislation is compelling. The current UK Government prefers voluntary measures or ‘nudging’ to bring about public health change but this stance has been shown to fail time and time again.”

Unsurprisingly, since the BMA’s call there has been some push back from those opposed to extending the current parameters of the smoking ban.

Simon Clark, the director of the Forest, a smokers’ pro-choice lobbying group, said: “Legislation is a gross over-reaction. What next, a ban on smoking in the home?”

While there are undoubtedly health benefits from extending the ban to cover motor vehicles, you would have to think that it would be an incredibly tough ban to enforce. Should smoking in private vehicles be banned? What do you think?

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