Legislation which would introduce a ban on smoking in vehicles in the presence of those who are under 18 has been backed by the Scottish Parliament’s Health and Sport Committee.
However, the Committee’s stage one report into the Smoking Prohibition (Children in Motor Vehicles) Bill also proposes that the driver should also be criminally liable for allowing someone to smoke in their vehicle in the presence of a person under the age of 18.
Whilst the Committee supports in principle the use of a fixed penalty notice, it is asking the member in charge of the Bill Jim Hume MSP and the Scottish Government to consider if an alternative arrangement such as an education programme could also be put in place.
Convener of the Committee Duncan McNeil MSP said:
“From our work into this issue it became clear that there is strong public support for this legislation. Our Committee believes that no child should have to experience the effects of second hand smoke in cars and that this legislation will tackle significantly this harmful behaviour.
“Whilst the person smoking should be held criminally responsible, we have also proposed that a similar sanction should be in place for the driver. This would also provide consistency with similar legislation in England and Wales.”
Deputy Convener of the Committee Bob Doris MSP said:
“Whilst education campaigns alone have made some headway in tackling misconceptions about second-hand smoke, it is clear that more needs to be done. We need to send a clear message that for children there is no safe level of second-hand smoke in vehicles
“A key factor in the success of these proposals will be an effective enforcement regime. We would support this being extended to local authorities who could work alongside Police Scotland to effectively enforce this law, should it be passed by the Parliament.”
Jim Hume MSP introduced his Member’s Bill in December 2014. The Health Committee were designated as the lead Committee to scrutinise the proposals. The Bill will now be voted on by the Parliament as a whole where it will decide if it should progress to the next stage of the parliamentary scrutiny process.