Police say they can't enforce the ban on smoking in cars with children

It was described by the government’s chief medical officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies as “a landmark in protecting children from secondhand smoke”, but police are struggling to enforce the law. This is due to no physical ticket being available at this time according to The Police Federation.

It’s a law that I believe should have been enacted years ago, and I agree that it is indeed a landmark moment in protecting children from secondhand smoke. However, it’s slightly embarrassing to say the least that it can’t be properly enforced. I’ve never smoked myself, and have never particularly enjoyed being surrounded by smoke. Not just for the negative impacts on health, but for the lingering smell found on clothes afterwards.

It was made illegal in England and Wales to smoke in a vehicle carrying children under 18 in October, and reaction was mixed from the start. Steve White, chairman of the Police Federation, warned that it would be “extremely challenging” to enforce the ban. So should we be surprised?

I suppose not really, I mean it does sound fantastic in theory, but ultimately how would it work? Police can’t stop drivers every single time they see someone smoking in order to check if there’s a child in the car. That wouldn’t be very productive and I can’t see it being very high on the list of their priorities regardless.

The BBC also reported that police would be taking a non-confrontational approach with the public, so as to give the awareness of offences time to build. This may explain why we’ve seen so little action taken so far.

Even if the new law is an impractical one it still isn’t without its benefits. Hopefully, it will help change people’s attitudes about smoking and encourage more people to quit, and stick to it.