In an effort to protect children from the harmful effects of second-hand smoke, Britain officials said Tuesday it would ban smoking in cars when children are present by 2015.
“There is a particular issue around vehicles being a particularly confined space and the associated public health concerns,” Prime Minister David Cameron said, according to Reuters.
The Irish Independent reported that Cameron missed the vote among parliament members.
Monday members of parliament voted to allow the health secretary to enact a ban, which Reuters said would likely come before May 2015 when there is an election.
“With both Houses of Parliament having made their support for the ban clear, the onus is now on the Government to act accordingly and make this crucial child protection measure law at the earliest opportunity,” Penny Woods, chief executive of the British Lung Foundation, told the Independent.
While many would agree children should not be subjected to second-hand smoke, some think the ban on smoking in cars could infringe upon civil liberties. British American Tobacco told Reuters that its concern with the proposal is that it could someday extend to a ban on smoking in cars in general, even when children are not present.
Boris Johnson, a columnist for the U.K.’s Daily Telegraph, wrote that “there is something bizarre and intrusive about the notion of the Government telling us that we may no longer smoke in the privacy of our own cars.”
“I mean, if you can’t smoke in your own car, in the presence of children, then why should you be allowed to smoke in the presence of children anywhere?” he continued What about the bathroom? What about the kitchen, or any other enclosed space? The logic of this proposal is surely to allow the state to invigilate our behaviour in our own private property — and some people may legitimately wonder where it will end.”
Britain is not alone as it seeks to ban smoking in cars with children. In the U.S., Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Maine and Oregon ban it already.