The UK government appears to be well on the way to banning smoking in cars carrying children but some people are saying the next law could be an outright ban on smoking in cars.
The issue isn’t the...
health of the driver; if he or she is the only person in the car then one might ask “who cares?”
Well, the police care. They’re talking safety.
And health campaigners care. They are concerned about the health of all passengers, not just children.
‘A cigarette is as dangerous as talking on a mobile phone while driving’, said the assistant Commander-in-Chief of the Dubai Police for Operation Affairs.
The top cop said he will propose a ban on smoking while driving as it poses a risk because – like using a phone - in both the cases the driver uses just one hand to drive. If, while driving, the driver drops his cigarette in the car, says the policeman, it could prove disastrous, especially if the car is being driven at speed.
But could a ban happen elsewhere?
So far as the UK is concerned, as far back as 2007 road safety officers were calling for a ban on smoking while driving, which a spokesperson for the Local Authority Road Safety Officers’ Association said was a ‘dangerous distraction’.
Firefighters in France say that cigarettes or cigarette litter thrown out of the window of cars is one of the causes of bush fires and in the south of the country the firefighters' department attributes 16% of local bushfires to cigarette litter thrown out of moving vehicles.
In Australia and Canada there are varying State laws. In New South Wales, for example, a smoking ban in cars with children under 16 has existed since July 2009, and in many Canadian States the ban commenced in May 2011.
A look around the world reveals that the UK is actually behind the trend. Smoking in cars with accompanying children has been banned in Bahrain for five years. Cyprus has a ban on smoking in cars carrying children, and on the island of Mauritius there’s an outright ban on smoking in any car carrying passengers. The UAE has banned smoking in a car carrying anyone under 12 years of age; South Africa is the same. Several other countries including Finland, Ireland, Israel and the Netherlands are debating the issue, with some considering a total ban.
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