We do not allow children to smoke because of the obvious risks that cigarettes pose to their health. But there is a growing body of evidence to suggest that unless we protect them from the effects of second-hand smoke (SHS) then we might as well buy them a packet of Marlboro Lights ourselves.
The British Medical Association and other experts have told us that SHS exposure can lead to illnesses from glue ear and asthma attacks to meningitis and lung cancer, and can be a risk factor in cot death.
The ban on smoking in public places has made a big difference and helped reduce exposure to SHS. But smoking in vehicles is a source of concentrated SHS and, as children are still developing, they are at particular risk.
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Probably nothing is more important than the Government’s primary responsibility of security of the realm and its citizens. The Prime Minister acknowledges that in his Statement. Clearly, we do not have the evidence, nor would it be appropriate to share that evidence publicly, and therefore we must accept the judgement of the Prime Minster in responding to perhaps one of the most serious calls that has been made on him. However, it would be interesting to know whether this is a matter that the Intelligence and Security Committee will be able to look at.