Bid to stop smoking in cars carrying children

A CAMPAIGN to warn of the dangers of smoking in cars carrying children is to be launched in Scotland.

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As calls for a ban have been raised in England by the Labour Party, the Scottish Government is to begin a drive to change behaviour before legislation would be considered.

The campaign will high-light the damage to children from smoking in cars and at home, and urges parents and adults not to smoke in areas where children can breathe in second-hand smoke.

It is believed that the risks to young children from smoking in cars is worse than to adults in a pub because of the smaller confined space.

Labour was last night attempting to force a vote on the issue in the House of Lords and plans to include it in its manifesto for the General election next year.

Shadow UK Health Secre-tary Andy Burnham said: "Adults are free to make their own choices but that often does not apply to children and that's why society has an obligation to protect them.

"Evidence from other countries shows that stopping smoking in the confined space of a car carrying children can prevent damage to their health and has public support."

While there are no plans at present to legislate north of the border, ministers do not want children exposed to second-hand smoke in cars.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: "We are committed to protecting children and young people from the harm caused by second-hand smoke.

"We will shortly launch our campaign to raise awareness of the risks of smoking in cars and homes around children.

"This is being developed in collaboration with the NHS, Cosla and charities to support behaviour change and we will evaluate our campaign to inform any future decisions on legislation."

A spokeswoman for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde NHS said: "As part of our successful Glas-goals health improvement campaign with the Evening Times in 2011 we launched an initiative to persuade the thousands of Scots motorists who continue to smoke and endanger non-smoking passengers to make their cars 'smoke free'.

"We commissioned a study which revealed that smoking in a car exposes a child passenger to dangerous levels of poisonous particles … and even opening a window doesn't protect them.

"The particles of poison in our tests were so high that they compared with the levels you would expect after being exposed to second-hand smoke in a smoke-filled pub.

"Reducing children's exposure in the home and car remains a priority for NHSGGC."

stewart.paterson@eveningtimes.co.uk

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