Background & Legislation

We all have an obligation to protect children from risks to their life and health caused by exposure to environmental tobacco smoke and to ensure that every child in Scotland has the best start in life. Growing up in a smoke-free environment is an important part of that.

Research has demonstrated the dangers of second hand smoke (SHS) and the negative health impacts that it can have. These include increased risks of heart disease, respiratory diseases and cancer. Exposure to SHS in cars involves higher concentrations of health-threatening chemicals than in larger, open areas. Even if the windows are opened or air conditioning is used, harmful particles can remain in the atmosphere long after the visible smoke has disappeared. The restriction of a vehicle also means individuals are unable to move away from the smoke.

The Smoking Prohibition (Children in Motor Vehicles) (Scotland) Act 2016 creates a new criminal offence, committed by any adult (aged 18 or over), where that adult smokes in a private motor vehicle in the presence of a child (under 18 years of age) while that vehicle is in a public place. The aim of the Legislation is to protect children from the harmful effects of exposure to second-hand smoke (SHS) in a confined space. You can find full details of the Legislation within the link below.


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