Drivers and passengers who light one up while kids are in the car now face fines in England and Wales, in an attempt to curve down the effects of passive smoking. The ban went into effect Thursday (1st October), but police said they would take it easy for a few weeks, waiting for people to become accustomed to the new law.

Image via Wiki Commons.

Penny Woods, chief of the British Lung Foundation was happy to see the law come into effect, bringing England and Wales in line with other European countries.

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“Today is truly a cause for celebration for all those who care about protecting the health of generations to come,” she said.

If anything, it seems that the fine of 50 pounds ($75) is considered insufficient. However, the National Police Chiefs’ Council said in a statement that police would take an “educational, advisory and non-confrontational approach” for at least the first three months.

“This would see people being given warnings rather than being issued with fines,” police said.

The law applies even if the windows or sunroof is opened, but electronic cigarettes are not impacted. Scotland and Northern Ireland have not yet rated the law.

Second-hand smoke causes many of the same diseases as direct smoking, including cardiovascular diseases, lung cancer, and respiratory diseases. The effects are especially dangerous for children, who are most prone to asthma, respiratory problems and even cancer.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer of the World Health Organization concluded in 2004 that there was sufficient evidence that second-hand smoke caused cancer in humans and since then, many countries have taken efforts to limit passive smoking as much as possible.