What's the problem
There are more than 4,000 dangerous chemicals in cigarette smoke. Because cars are such small spaces, a cigarette in the car exposes your kids to a greater concentration of harmful chemicals than in any other environment. In fact, levels are up to 27 times higher than in a smoker's home, and 20 times more toxic. Since October 2015, it has been illegal to smoke in the car (or other vehicle) with a child under 18.
Smoking in the car exposes children to a greater risk of:
- worsening asthma symptoms
- bronchitis, pneumonia and respiratory tract infections
- middle ear infections (glue ear)
- increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) or crib death
- behaviour issues and decreased attention and comprehension
- slowed lung growth
- increased risk of cancer and heart disease in adulthood
What's the solution
The easiest step you can take towards addressing these problems is to make your car smokefree. Here are some simple steps to follow:
- Do not smoke, or let your passengers smoke, in the car
- Put up a no smoking sign on the dashboard or window to remind your passengers that you have a smokefree car
- Plan your journeys and allow regular stops for smoking breaks outside the car
- Empty the ashtray and fill it with sweets or loose change
- Keep several packs of sugar-free gum in the glove compartment
- Wash your car and vacuum all floors and upholstery
- Ask your doctor about nicotine replacement therapies to help control cravings while you're in the car for long journeys.
- Reward yourself with a music CD, a coffee or other treat after the first week of smoke-free driving.
What will a smokefree car mean?
- A smokefree car will be cleaner, fresher and more comfortable
- A smokefree car can be easier to sell, with a higher resale value.
- Fewer distractions. The Highway Code lists smoking while driving a distraction.
- You must not smoke in public transport vehicles or in vehicles used for work purposes in certain prescribed circumstances.