As from 1 October it will be illegal:
- for retailers to sell electronic cigarettes or e-liquids to someone under 18
- for an adult to buy (or try to buy) tobacco products or e-cigarettes for someone under 18
- to smoke in a private vehicle carrying someone under 18. Private vehicles must be smoke free if they are enclosed, there is more than one person present and one of them is under 18.
So, it will be an offence:
- for a person of any age to smoke in a private vehicle that is carrying someone who is under 18
- for a driver (including a provisional driver) not to stop someone smoking in these circumstances
The rules don’t apply to e-cigarettes.
A fixed penalty notice (fine) for both offences is £50. Somebody who commits both offences could get two fines. Private vehicles must be carrying more than one person to be smoke free so somebody who is 17 and smoking alone in a private vehicle won’t be committing an offence.
An enforcement officer (usually the police) will use discretion to decide whether to issue a warning or a fixed penalty notice, or to refer an offence to court.
What classes as an enclosed vehicle?
The legislation covers any private vehicle that is enclosed wholly or partly by a roof. A convertible car, or coupe, with the roof completely down and stowed is not enclosed and so isn’t covered by the legislation.
Sitting in the open doorway of an enclosed vehicle is covered by the legislation.
The rules apply to motor homes, campervans and caravans when they are being used as a vehicle, but don’t apply when they are being used as living accommodation.
The rules don’t apply to:
- boats, ships and aircraft as they have their own rules
- work vehicles and public transport as they are already covered by smoke free legislation.
Why has the law changed?
Everytime a child breathes in second hand smoke, they breathe in thousands of chemicals. This put them at risk of serious conditions, such as meningitis, cancer and respiratory infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia. It can also make asthma worse.
Second hand smoke is dangerous for anyone, but children are especially vulnerable, because they breathe more rapidly and have less developed airways and lungs and immune systems. Over 80% of cigarette smoke is invisible and opening windows does not remove it harmful effects.
The law is changing to protect children and young people from such harm.