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Ban on smoking in cars from this week

Published Monday 28 September 2015 at 9:45

Blackburn with Darwen Council along with a local ex-smoker are highlighting the fact that secondhand smoke is extremely dangerous ahead of the ban on smoking in cars with under 18s present, which becomes law in England and Wales on 1 October.

Secondhand smoke from cigarettes contains over 4,500 toxic chemicals and 80% of it is invisible. The toxic mix is responsible for a range of serious health problems including bronchitis, asthma and glue ear, and is especially dangerous to children.

The change in law means that private vehicles must be smokefree if they are enclosed, there is more than one person present and one of them is under 18. The fixed penalty notice fine for offences is £50.

Smokers are encouraged to use the ban as the perfect opportunity to kick the habit for good as Stoptober – the 28-day mass-quitting challenge – also starts on 1 October. Last year thousands of smokers across Lancashire quit as part of the campaign. Free support includes texts, social media coaching from celebrities as well as local stop smoking services on-hand to provide face-to-face advice.

People who smoke but aren’t ready to quit yet are encouraged to pledge to make their homes and cars smokefree through the Lancashire Smokefree Homes and Cars Programme. Over 15,000 people have already signed up to the scheme which includes advice around maintaining a healthy smokefree environment, an optional stop smoking service referral and optional home safety visit from the fire service.

Marie Hollis, 23, from Darwen supports smokefree cars for children and recently quit through Blackburn with Darwen Stop Smoking Service said:

I support smokefree cars for children to protect their health. I started smoking because I wanted to fit in with my older boyfriend, I was 17 at the time. I used to spend around £10 a day on cigarettes and smoked about 20 on a daily basis.

I gave up smoking when I became pregnant. I have two young children and chose never to smoke in the house or car because I didn’t want them to think that it was normal.

None of my friends smoked and they didn’t like it when I did so they definitely influenced me. My family also encourage me a lot, if I’m tempted to smoke my mum tells me to have a cup of tea instead. Two years ago my Granddad died of lung cancer even though he had given up smoking for 25 years, the long term affect from years of smoking still affected his health in the end. This really impacted me.

The reason I don’t smoke in my house or car is because it’s not fair to smoke around children, I would never want to put my children in danger. As adults we have a choice whether we do so or not but if we smoke in their presence they have no choice.

I definitely recommend signing up to the Smokefree Homes and Cars programme, as it shows you are serious about committing to a healthy family. And if you smoke I suggest getting in touch with Blackburn with Darwen Stop Smoking Service as they are great.

To further raise awareness of the dangers of secondhand smoke, Blackburn with Darwen Council with social enterprise Tobacco Free Futures have launched an online video featuring celebrities from Peep Show and Hollyoaks to show how children often don’t have a choice when adults smoke in the car.

Councillor Mustafa Desai, Executive Member for Health and Adult Social Care at Blackburn with Darwen Council said:

Smoky cars, packed full of toxic tobacco chemicals, are especially deadly to children because they have smaller lungs, faster breathing and less developed immune systems. Children suffering the effects of secondhand smoke are admitted to Lancashire hospitals every year with complications such as bronchitis, asthma and reduced lung function.

We have campaigned for smokefree cars for a long time, and we hope the change in the law along with the extra information and support available will lead to healthier choices by people across Lancashire to keep their cars smokefree.

With support from your local stop smoking service you are four times more likely to quit than going it alone. Call Blackburn with Darwen Stop Smoking Service on 01254 682037.

You can also protect your family from secondhand smoke by pledging to keep your home and car smokefree – visit www.lancashiresmokefreehomes.co.uk

Watch the video here: https://youtu.be/xbFKg47J_uA

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