Smoking in cars ban unenforceable says Redditch MP

By Ian Dipple Tuesday 11 February 2014 Updated: 11/02 15:44

REDDITCH MP Karen Lumley voted against banning smoking in cars when children are present because she believes it will be unenforceable, criminalise ordinary people and waste police time.

MPs backed an amendment to the Children and Families Bill on Monday (February 10) which empowers ministers to introduce the ban but is not binding on them. But as the ban was backed by a majority of 269 votes, ministers say it will now happen.

Mrs Lumley said she was a smoker when her two children were little but never smoked around them either when they were in the car or in the same room at home.

"It was common sense and I didn't need telling by the police or anybody else and I don't think we should be legislating for something like that which will be totally unenforceable and I don't think it's a good use of police time," she said.

"If the police stop a car and you have a 16-year-old in it how are you going to tell their age? Are they going to have to carry their passport or birth certificate around with them all the time?

"And if you do stop someone and you fine them £100 the first time and then you stop them again and fine them £100 the second time, what then? Are we going to send them to jail? Then do you say people can't smoke in their own home because that damages children?

"Do you stop pregnant women buying a bottle of wine from the off-licence or supermarket because that's harmful to unborn babies? How far do you go?

"If you are going to have children you've got to be responsible to look after them and it's common sense, it's not a good idea to smoke around children."

But health professionals in the county have welcomed the ban.

Dr Jonathan Wells, chair of Redditch and Bromsgrove CCG, writing on Twitter called it a sensible first step. He also tweeted Mrs Lumley to say: "Criminalises ordinary people? What about protecting children?"

While Sarah Dugan, chief executive of Worcestershire Health and Care Trust, tweeted: "Really pleased about the smoking ban in cars. Excellent news for the health of our children."

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