Ban smoking in cars?

October 7, 2008

rtr1xxhr.jpgAnti-smoking group Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) says serious thought should be given to a ban on smoking in cars.

In a report which says smoking costs the NHS 2.7 billion pounds a year, the lobby group argues that millions of children and young people are exposed to second-hand smoke in vehicles every day.

Similar bans are in place elsewhere in the world and a poll shows that the British public also supports such action.

Pro-smoking groups say such suggestions are just an attempt to stigmatise smokers and bully them into quitting. Lobby group Forest says such moves are an attack on the freedoms of adult smokers.

What do you think? Send us your comments

42 comments

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

I agree that a ban should come in place, as well as the dangers of passive smoking, there are also that from loss of concentration when lighting the cigerette and when breathing out smoke may fog the view of the road for the driver.

Posted by Paul Crocker | Report as abusive

a good idea.

Posted by tim price | Report as abusive

A fantastic idea, not just of second hand smoke, but also that it can distract you from driving.

Posted by Luke | Report as abusive

i have been driving for 4 years now and have smoked everysingle day of that in my car, never caused an accident or ever been any where near one…if this ban comes into place fair dooz it will help some people but if someone is in the car theirself then theres no one to give second hand smoke to and to the person who quoted “it could fog your vision” when your smoking in a car your window is obviously down and the smoke gets rushed out the window at 30mph…This is people who personally dont like smoking trying to bully the entire nation into having their views or be fined or worse..
utter rubbish..what ever happened to freedom

Posted by CHARLES CAMERON | Report as abusive

Whatever. I’ll just snort or inject my drugs instead

Posted by hmw | Report as abusive

A good idea, just lighting a cigarette whilst driving must distract attention.

Why not ban everything then the Anti this Anti that and Anti the other will have nothing to complain about.Get a Life

Posted by winistoni | Report as abusive

It’s an excellent suggestion, aside from the damage that is done to others in the car what about the distraction it causes if it is the driver smoking/driving one handed!!!

Posted by Sue Oliver | Report as abusive

all those that want this sort of stuff banned should think twice. Its time that we showed tolerance to others. I do not smoke but I understand that others might want to. I does not affect me in the slightest. Life is becoming soooo boring, soon people will be falling asleep at the wheel. Do you really like the world you are building?

Posted by richard | Report as abusive

ASH are no better than health Nazis

Posted by Peter | Report as abusive

Complete and utter tosh. Children in cars are much more distracting. Do we ban them?

Posted by Scott Kerr | Report as abusive

Prohibition doesn’t work. You need to encourage the culture to change, not to try to enforce a ban; the police have enough to do trying to enforce a ban on talking or texting on mobile phones!

Before you know it, they will change the payout on insurance claims for accidents, based on whether the driver was talking to another occupant, arguing with the kids in the back, eating sweets, smoking, drinking a bottle of water, listening to loud music, changing tunes on their iPod, driving in excess of a ‘sensible’ speed for the road conditions ..

Posted by Nick Sargeant | Report as abusive

It would be much simpler if a total ban on smoking were introduced. Just make the production and sale of tobacco product illegal.

Oh, wait, can not do that due to the loss of revenu from the taxation. Damn, thought I had the answer.

Does anybody know how much money the gov get each year from tobacco products ?? Just curious as I always see the cost to the NHS but never the cash in.

And as for distracting, what about sat nav, radios, talking, road rage, children, sneezing…..

Posted by Tim | Report as abusive

What a disastrous world these health and environmental lunatics are trying to create!

No smoking, no eating, no communicating, no driving, etc., etc., etc., etc.,!

Why not ban every living creature from breathing (no CO2!) deffacating (no methane!)and then we will have this ‘world’ where there is no meaningfull life at all?

Will whoever is responsible for these zealots and crazies, please either have them locked up or disposed of before they start to do get their crazy ways or before the rest of us start to exact our own form of retribution on them!

Posted by james | Report as abusive

This has to be one of the most stupid suggestions ever!! I am totally against smoking but even this is absurd. What gives ASH the right to tell people what thay can and cannot do even in their own car? If you are going to suffer from second hand smoking within the car then just get out and walk or tell the smoker to get out!

Posted by Harry | Report as abusive

In my experience smoking actually increases alertness, significantly reducing the risk of committing probably the most dangerous act of all – falling asleep at the wheel…

Posted by Jon Boks | Report as abusive

Using your mobile whilst driving has been banned..that hasn’t stopped most people………So would this ban work.

Posted by Justin | Report as abusive

I think that nothing should be banned unless it can be proven to be damaging either to individuals or to society.

We are in the age of the “Ban It All” Taliban – a state of affairs carefully fostered by the current government in order to divide society and embed its commissars in positions of authority over every aspect of our lives.

Thank God they’ll soon be gone and sanity will return. Roll on May 2010 when we get the chance to ban THEM.

Posted by Andy | Report as abusive

I totally agree with Harry. I am also totally against smoking, but if an individual wants to smoke in his or her own car, than fine. Any passengers can obviously ask the driver not to smoke if they are not happy. Its called communication. We have done it for years. What next? A ban of smoking in your own house, just in case it upsets a guest. In all my years i have found that if people know you dont like the smokey atmosphere, they tend not to smoke in their car or house etc. In fact a few of my mates, actually go outside to smoke when they are in their own house.

Posted by B Hunter | Report as abusive

People are going crazy….. We should ban talking aswell and children should not be allowed in cars. When driving there can be no distractions! Why not ban billboards and radio’s as well.
Are we not supposed to live in a free society? These days I really do wonder, what’s worse is some people actually agree with constant control by people you will probably never have a discussion with.

Posted by cb | Report as abusive

This whole thing is becoming totally nuts. Maybe we should ban rear view mirrors and radios and kids and anything else that causes a distraction. I have smoked all my driving life and have never had a crash dew to smoking. This is just another nail in civil liberties. Big Brother in every part of our lives. Get off our backs.

Posted by Biran | Report as abusive

Enough! Stop interfering in our lives – what to eat, how to cook it, what’s in our bin or the wrong bin – for goodness sake leave us alone. Anyway the amount levied in various ways by the government on every packet of cigarettes, cigars or smoking tobacco, comes to £12 billion per year, six times more than any NHS bills run up by nicotine addicts.

Posted by Ruth | Report as abusive

Why not ban listening to the radio in your car too, taking passengers, especially kids and sneezing, coughing, thinking and anything else you can think of too.

At the same time, why not ban the internet too, to stop people having their own say, after all – they clearly cannot be trusted to make any decision that isnt made for them by this socialist nanny state tax and we’ll spend it for you, Government

Posted by Guy | Report as abusive

Stop s-mothering us you numties.

Posted by Thomas | Report as abusive

what a load of the proverbial, are ash proposing to stop me from picking my nose, changing the radio station, talking to the passengers? all driver distractions and if not then xxxx off, if i want to smoke while i’m driving then i will, it’s my car

The people at Ash should get a life. I dont smoke and I am clever enough to know that if I do not wish to breath second hand smoke I dont get into a smokers car. The smokers have rights as well and if its there car let them smoke. What next ban water in cars or fruit as to eat or drink clearly requires movement of the hands from the wheel. I am really start to feel sorry for my friends that are smokers.

Posted by Paul | Report as abusive

Obviously, the only sensible thing to do is to ban DRIVING in cars… that way no-one could do anything these crazy zealots didn’t like and there’d never be any accidents!

Posted by Judy | Report as abusive

We havnt got any rights left as it is, and as for lighting a cigerette in the car, that is already illegal if your driving, so why dont u good doers sort out ure own lives instead of harrassing others who are old enuf to make a decision weither to smoke or not in there car or home or in public. its my car and nobody will stop me smoking in it. as for others in my car which is very rare they have the right to not be in it as they know i smoke and most of my friends do anyway, as one person said the window is open when i smoke and it just goes out the window anyway. Stop being controlling i say and let an indivual do what they damn well please, its none of anyone elses business.

Posted by jo | Report as abusive

A great idea. But be ready for other great ideas like ‘stop smiling while driving’, ‘stop moving your hands while walking’ and ‘stop thinking while talking’.
There is no dearth of great guys with great ideas. Please go ahead and set new standards of flimsy ideas.

Posted by prakash jha | Report as abusive

It is high time that ASH was disbanded. The only reason they have to justify their existence is to campaign against smoking so, having got a ban in public buildings etc, need to find another cause to pursue. Surely this car nonsense a step too far. The government cannot make smoking totally illegal as all the sanctimonious non-smokers might find themselves choking at having to find the £7billion pounds tax shortfall.

I find it very difficult to believe all the statistics bandied about relating to the number of people that agree with these campaign groups. I have yet to meet one person, and mostly non-smokers, who think this is a good idea.

Posted by Geoff | Report as abusive

why not take it to next level, let us all live in a prefect little bubble, with no thoughts or rights, Please wont somebody please explain to these people that, We have all have rights.. I dont smoke in my car with kids, but i do smoke, in my car ,my house and am fed up up with these people, Get a bl**ding life and do something else..

Posted by mark | Report as abusive

Oh so im not allowed to smoke in my own car now!
These anti smoking zelots are nuts.
If you let this happen nobody will be safe from intrusion into their pesonal life.
Remember ASH’s last hillarious episode .
Yes it was pictures of rotting lungs etc. on cigarette packets that measure has failed in Canada for years now in fact the number of smokers has increased.
By demonising smokers they are actuallty making smoking more attractive to youth.
ps ASH are a private charity not a part of the government or the NHS.
The top of the pile are making a lot of money out of this

pps
In 2005, 102 pubs closed.

In 2006, 204 pubs closed.

In 2007, smoking ban 2500 pubs closed.

that’s a lot of jobs.

let the licensee decide ,smoking, non, or both.

Posted by Mcgraw | Report as abusive

Actually now that I think about it the Denormalisation of smokers is bordering on a type of Social Rascism” .
Its going too far… stop.
ASH are no better than a neo Nazi group.
You know the Mary Whitehouse type of person.
Like all Prohibitionists.
Its Alchohol next .
Oh well enjoy fish and chips while you still can.
Because once smoking has gone they need another scapegoat to feed off.
Then they will be AAH Association for Alchohol Health.
Or perhaps AFH Association for Food health.
And then ASH again Association for sexual health.
Ah!, you don’t you smoke, I understand its not your problem then that’s fine by me of course.Just hope your a teetotaling skinny nun then.
Then you won’t mind as it won’t affect you.

Posted by MG | Report as abusive

According to figures from HM Customs & Revenue, the tax raised from the sale of tobacco products in 2006-07 was £8.1 billion in excise duty and £1.9 billion in VAT.

If smoking costs the NHS £2.7 billion a year as claimed by ASH, then smokers provide the government with a profit of £7.3 billion a year. A nice little earner which blows the “cost to the NHS” argument right out of the water.

British smokers are funding Labour’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to the tune of £1.2 billion a year, plus half the cost of benefits paid to the unemployed (£5.5 billion) and half the cost of the overseas aid budget (£0.6 billion). Where would our leaders get the money from if they weren’t screwing it out of smokers?

ASH are just another bunch of petty jobsworths who want to feel important by spoiling something that other people enjoy. The current government has created the culture in which such people thrive; encouraging interference in people’s lives, spying on your neighbours and promoting the steady drip of “politically correct” poison designed to divide society.

A pox on all their houses.

Posted by Jason | Report as abusive

ZANULAB !
12000000 votes yes 12000000 votes .
against ..you.
Hmm… how can we definately get booted out in 2011.
I know! we will persecute a quarter of the population
they love it!

Posted by the political angle | Report as abusive

This is utter nonsense..I hope this idea doesn’t catch on in the states..No smoking in cars..Good grief what is next? I agree just ban all driving, eating and sex.Better ban that too! That causes all sorts of distractions, in and out of a car.

what next ? they will be telling us we cant smoke in our own homes, i dont see anything wrong with smoking in my car. if there are two people in the car, whats wrong with the driver smoking. i do it all the time with my husband, he and i both smoke, i dont drive so i light one up for him and pass it over. there is no harm

The study that New Jersey used when hand-held cell phones were banned there showed that children (and everything else considered)are a far greater “danger” than smoking.Smoking was found to be the “safest”,at 1% (the lowest figure that could be used).Car accidents are the leading cause of accidental child deaths,and since children are a “major” cause of automobile deaths,then children should be banned from automobiles.”Obviously” this is every one’s best interest.

There still isn’t really an effect for second-hand smoke to be the cause of.The most likely cause of these “mysterious” deaths is still air pollution.This was furthered by this recent study.
” Newly Detected Air Pollutant Mimics Damaging Effects Of Cigarette Smoke”

“ScienceDaily (Aug. 18, 2008) — A previously unrecognized group of air pollutants could have effects remarkably similar to harmful substances found in tobacco smoke, Louisiana scientists are reporting in a study scheduled for presentation today at the 236th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society. Inhaling those pollutants exposes the average person up to 300 times more free radicals daily than from smoking one cigarette, they added.

The discovery could help explain the long-standing medical mystery of why non-smokers develop tobacco-related diseases like lung cancer, said H. Barry Dellinger, Ph.D., the Patrick F. Taylor Chair of Environmental Chemistry at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.”

Since it is non-smokers that are,by far,the greater cost to health care when compared to smokers,ASH should be attacking them.Non-smokers reek and emit many harmful gases.They should be banned.

Posted by Vince | Report as abusive

The trouble with ASH is they are fanatics who will not listen to reason they only see the world in their own twisted puritan fanatasiscm .
They think the way they are is normal and everyone else is wrong.
A form of Fascism
A form of one dimensional thinking.

Posted by Mcgraw | Report as abusive

Thanks for shedding some light on the true ££ cost Jason.

However you missed out the fact that smokers die prematurely so collect less in pensions. Several Billion more saved.

Thanks.

Posted by Nick | Report as abusive

I think the smoking ban is a brilliant idea. It’s tough luck that all these pubs have closed; why should I have to sit and breathe in someone elses fumes?

I really don’t understand why smokers are so selfish on times, they will go to any lenght to defend their little crutch.

Posted by Lee | Report as abusive

I think cars exhaust fumes are more dangerous than second hand smoke. How would you like to be told when to drive or who or what you can drive near, should we stop driving near schools. Alcohol makes certain people violent, causes death, should we have a drinking ban too. Where should we stop. All wrapped up in cotton wool..

Posted by stuart | Report as abusive