Gibraltar Chronicle Logo
Local News

Change in law bans smoking in cars with children

Smoking in cars carrying children will be illegal as from this Thursday, the Gibraltar Government has announced.

The change in legislation is designed to protect children and young people aged under 18 from the

damaging effects of second-hand smoke.

“This new legislation is designed to protect our children from second-hand smoke,” said Dr John Cortes, the Minister for Health and the Environment.

“Smoking just a single cigarette in a vehicle exposes children to high levels of air pollutants and cancer-causing chemicals like arsenic, formaldehyde and tar.”

“People often wrongly assume that opening a window or letting in fresh air will lessen the damage, [but] research in UK has shown that, even with a car window open, levels of dangerous chemicals are over 100 times higher than recommended safety guidelines.”

“No matter what the situation, children will always be exposed to dangerous chemicals which can put them at risk of developing serious health conditions.”

“The new law applies to any private vehicle enclosed wholly or partly by a roof, even if the window is open, the air conditioning is on or the smoker is sitting in the open doorway of the vehicle.”

Research shows second hand smoke can put children at risk of serious conditions such as meningitis, asthma, cancer, bronchitis and pneumonia.

As from March 31, it will be an offence for anyone aged 18 or over to smoke in an enclosed motor vehicle when there is a child in the vehicle and the vehicle is in a public place.

An ‘enclosed’ vehicle is described as one that is enclosed wholly or partly by a roof.

The new legislation follows the Smoke-Free Environment Act 2012, which made it an offence to smoke in enclosed public places and in public service vehicles in Gibraltar.

Similar legislation is already in place in UK, France, South Africa, much of Australia, Canada and the USA and several other countries.