The law making it illegal to smoke in a vehicle carrying anyone under the age of 18 comes into force today (5 December).

A member's bill introduced by then Liberal Democrat MSP Jim Hume, the Smoking Prohibition (Children in Motor Vehicles) (Scotland) Act 2015 was passed unanimously by the Scottish Parliament last year to give extra protection for children and young people from the harm caused by secondhand smoke.

Anyone caught breaking the law will be committing an offence carrying a fine of up to £1,000. However, questions have been raised over the enforceability of the law, after Calum Steele, general secretary of the Scottish Police Federation, said earlier this year that police priorities "should be elsewhere".

It has also been reported that only one prosecution has been brought in England & Wales since a similar law was introduced there.

Aileen Campbell, Scottish Government Minister for Public Health and Sport, commented: “It’s simply not safe to smoke when a child is in the car. Dangerous levels of chemicals can build up, even on short journeys, and 85% of secondhand smoke is invisible and odourless so you can’t always see what they’re breathing in.

“We know for a fact that the poisonous chemicals in second-hand smoke are extremely damaging to our health. We also know that children breathe faster than adults, meaning they ingest more of the deadly toxins."

British Medical Association Scotland chair Dr Peter Bennie has demanded the Scottish Government go further and ban all smoking in cars.