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Drivers should bear responsibility for smoking in cars, Law Society says

15 June 2015 | tagged News release

Drivers should be those held liable for people smoking in cars when children are present, not necessarily the smokers themselves, the Law Society of Scotland said today 15 June. 

Ahead of giving oral evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Health and Sport Committee on the Smoking Prohibition (Children in Motor Vehicles) (Scotland) Bill, the Law Society has also reiterated its concerns that whilst a ban on adults smoking in cars while children are present is laudable, it would prove difficult to enforce. 

Alison Britton, convener of the Law Society’s Health and Medical law committee said: “Of course we support the policy intent behind this bill, and the harmful effects of smoking and second hand smoke are well documented.  However, as it stands, the proposed legislation places the criminal liability on the smoker rather than driver of the vehicle.  It is our view that it would be more logical that the driver bear the responsibility to ensure no one smokes in the car where a child is present, like the legislation that has just been passed in England. 

“We would also argue that this legislation is going to be difficult to enforce, and will present challenges under certain circumstances, such as when the car is moving or in heavy traffic. The enforcing officer would need to be able to see the offence taking place and ascertain the age of any child present.” 

Alison Britton is giving evidence on the Smoking Prohibition (Children in Motor Vehicles) (Scotland) Bill to the Scottish Parliament’s Health and Sport Committee on 16 June at 11am. 


Notes to editors 

The Law Society of Scotland’s written evidence can be found on our website.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: Please contact Louise Docherty on 0131 476 8204 or<>



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