Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesman Jim Hume MSP has said the Scottish Parliament will have the chance to protect thousands of children for years to come if MSPs agree today to ban smoking in private cars when a child is present.
Mr Hume introduced the Smoking Prohibition (Children in Motor Vehicles) (Scotland) Bill one year ago this week, on 15 December 2014.
If passed, it will be an offence for an adult to smoke in a private motor vehicle when a child under the age of 18 is present. Public and works vehicles are already covered by existing legislation.
During this afternoon’s Stage 3 debate on the Bill Mr Hume is expected to say: “My consultation on this Bill generated wide support, and I am grateful to the many organisations and people who gave their input.
“The aim of this piece of legislation is to protect our children and young people from the harmful effects of exposure to second-hand smoke within the close confines of a private car. The concentration of harmful particles in cars is significant – around 11 times denser than the smoke in bars, and we’ve already legislated against smoking in those.
“60,000 children are put in this position each week in Scotland. To put that in context, that’s the equivalent of the combined population of Dumfries, Hawick and Galashiels. Or more people than would fit into Hampden Park stadium.
“In Scotland, a private vehicle remains one of the few places where children can legally be exposed to tobacco smoke. If passed, this legislation will address that situation and help to ensure all of our children and young people have the best, healthiest start in life.
“This Bill again shows how this Scottish Parliament has led the way in the UK in starting the debate on protecting children from second-hand smoke in cars. Today we have a chance to make that a law, a law that will make so many more people lead a better, healthier life. Our job as MSPs is to make a difference, today we can make a real difference.”