Starting this Thursday 1 October 2015, it will be illegal to smoke in a vehicle carrying anyone under the age of 18 as a passenger. Under the new law, both the driver and the person found smoking can be issued with an on-the-spot fine of £50.
The British Dental Health Foundation eagerly anticipates this move, believing it will have a profound effect on children’s oral health.
It has been shown how passive smoking can put children at a higher risk of tooth decay and other oral health issues. The charity believes that this ban will go a long way in protecting children from the dangers of second-hand smoke.
Their welcome is echoed by the general public as a recent YouGov poll indicated over three in four (77%) people agree that smoking should be banned in cars with passengers under 18 years old, with a further 63% of smokers agreeing with the ban also.
BDHF Chief Executive Dr Nigel Carter said: “Research has shown then a single cigarette smoked in a car with closed windows produces 11 times higher levels of second hand smoke than in an average bar where smoking is permitted. This is extremely dangerous to anyone within that car, especially children whose dental health is still developing.
“Everybody is aware of the dangers of smoking to our health but often overlook the effects on our mouth, gums and teeth. Second hand smoke can lead to gum disease, tooth loss, and in more severe cases mouth cancer.
“We have already seen from the 2007 smoking ban that moves such as this can help to save lives and that the majority of public voices agree with these types of measures.
“There will also be a significant behavioural perspective; when smoking is banned from these vehicles children who are travelling with smokers will not come to associate the habit of smoking as a perceived normal behaviour.
“Smoking is a deeply antisocial and damaging habit, one which the British Dental Health Foundation has continually highlighted as a key battleground in the fight against oral diseases.”