Smoking with children ban also applies to vans

It is now illegal to smoke in a van as well as a car if a child (under-18) is also present in the vehicle, including if the windows are open. Currently the law only applies in England and Wales.

Both the driver and whoever is smoking in the car will face a £50 fine, though initially the police will take a relaxed approach to raise awareness, rather than to harshly penalise smokers. 

The law which bans smoking in any enclosed workplace, including vans classed as a ‘work vehicle that more than one person uses’, has already been in place since July 2007, but now a van used by just one person which is also used to transport children under 18 will also be subject to the new legislation.

The law has been brought in to reduce the health dangers of passive smoking. According to Cancer Research UK, up to 165,000 new cases of disease among children each year can be linked to second-hand smoke. As many as 12,000 people die annually from problems related to passive smoking.  

Cancer Research also says that children in the back seat of a car will be exposed to smoke levels around three times higher than the recommended European air pollution standard – though peak levels can be as high as 35 times higher.

Scotland is expected to introduce a similar law in future, while Northern Ireland will consider a law based on how the new rules work in England and Wales.