by Benson Agoha
Smokers are now banned from smoking inside cars carrying children. And within a year, it will become criminal for anyone to flout the new law which was overwhelming backed by MPs yesterday.
It is another chip-off against the monstrous effects of tobacco smoking which, itself has been blamed for several deaths attributable to cancer. It follows an earlier law banning tobacco smoking in public places including, railway and airport concourses, pubs, clubs as well as offices, passed in 2007.
The historic vote yesterday followed a move introduced in the House of Lords by the Labour party, and coalition parties were given a free vote which means they could vote with their conscience and not the party line.
But, despite Deputy PM Nick Clegg's opposition to the ban, branding it 'unenforceable', coalition MP's thought the move so good they followed PM Cameron's lead that 'time has come' for a ban and backed it, making lighting up in a car criminal and punishable by a £60 fine or points on the driver’s licence.
Yesterday's vote is a win for campaigners like Cancer Research UK and the British Lung Foundation, who campaigned to ban smoking in cars when children are on board.
The British Lung Foundation estimates that more than 430,000 children are exposed to second hand smoke in the family car each week, endangering thier young lives in the process.
Smoke fumes in cars with wound-up windors are concentrated to a much higher degree than outside open place. An estimate puts it at up 12 times more concentrated and in most cases, it makes breathing difficult for the occupants of the car, many of which may not even be able to complain.
Tobacco smoking is addictive and causes cancer. It has been blamed for the death of millions, many of which were eminent personalities.
The NHS and several other governmental and non-governmental health agencies have used numerous incentives to lure people away from smoking, with little results. And the introduction of e-cigarettes have not encourage a mass crossover either.
For the past 25 years, every May 31st, the World Health Organisation receives updates on the war against tobacco smoking, and subsequently have reinforced its campaign to get tobacco advertising banned.
This latest dent against the monster strenghtens hope that one day, tobacco smoking will be substantially reduced, if not eradicated.
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