Scottish Parliament backs ban on smoking in cars with children

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A bill to ban smoking in cars carrying children has passed its first hurdle in the Scottish Parliament.
MSPs voted unanimously in favour of the general principles of the legislation, which aims to protect children from the effects of second-hand smoke.
It could mean fines of up to £100 for smokers who light up in a car with a young passenger.
The member's bill was introduced by the Liberal Democrat MSP Jim Hume.
The Smoking Prohibition (Children in Motor Vehicles) (Scotland) Bill had previously been backed in principle by the Scottish government, Scottish Labour and health charities as well as Holyrood's health committee, which will now further scrutinise the bill before it returns to the Holyrood chamber for final approval.
'Acute exposure'
Speaking during the debate, Mr Hume told the Holyrood chamber: "Children suffer because of second-hand smoke. The purpose of the bill is straightforward, it is to protect our children from the harmful effects of exposure to second-hand smoke.
"This legislation is not about raising revenue or forcing people to stop smoking.
"It is designed to purely prevent acute exposure of children to second-hand smoke and put an end to the anxiety they are subjected to."
Public health minister Maureen Watt said Scotland could be proud of its record as a "world leader" on tobacco control, and said the government would work with Mr Hume to ensure the legislation was implemented quickly.
The Scottish Conservatives also gave their backing to the proposed legislation, but called for it to be reviewed after a few years to ensure its effectiveness.
Sheila Duffy, the chief executive of anti-smoking charity Ash Scotland, welcomed the parliament's unanimous support for the bill.
She said: "We know that second-hand tobacco smoke is harmful and that it can reach very high levels when someone smokes in a car. Scottish survey results indicate around one fifth of 13 and 15 year olds are exposed to tobacco smoke during car journeys.
"It is pleasing that health interests were joined by the enforcement agencies, Police Scotland and environmental health officers, in supporting this bill. I am confident it will be effective in its goal of protecting children."
'Worrying intrusion'
A bill to ban smoking in cars carrying children is "gesture politics" say campaigners.
But Simon Clark, director of the smokers' group Forest, said the bill was the "worst kind of gesture politics".
He added: "Most smokers know lighting up in a car with children is inconsiderate. That's why the overwhelming majority don't do it.
"The new law will make no difference to public health but it represents a worrying intrusion into people's private space. Inevitably anti-smoking campaigners will now target the home, the most private space of all."
A ban on smoking in cars carrying under-18s came into force in England last week.