Doctors advise car smoking ban

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A new report from the Royal College of Physicians has advised that smoking in cars should be banned in order to protect children from the dangers of passive inhalation.

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Following analysis of previous research, doctors claim that around 9,500 hospital admissions involving children are linked to the effects of passive smoking and that 22,000 cases of asthma each year are also down to second-hand smoke.

Though Professor John Britton, chairman of the College's tobacco advisory group, concedes that banning smoking in the home would be an impossible task, a ban on motorists smoking would be enforceable. But as well as recommending a ban on smoking in any vehicle (it is currently banned for business vehicles), the Royal College has also suggested that the existing public place ban be extended to parks and playgrounds where children may be playing.

And Richard Ashcroft from the University of London said that even those drivers who never had young passengers should get out before lighting up. It would not, he says, be a "significant reduction" in their liberties. Of course, many would disagree, not least smoking supporters, Forest.

Simon Clark, director of the lobby group, told the Daily Mail: "We wouldn't encourage people to smoke around children but adults should be allowed to use their common sense. These proposals go way beyond what is acceptable in a free society."

Whilst few would argue that smoking around children is healthy, is a ban on smoking in cars a step too far and, if such a law were passed, would it signal a total tobacco ban?