London: Smoking in cars while travelling along with children in the UK will be banned from tomorrow and could attract fines of up to 2,500 pounds, in a bid to protect under 18-year-olds from the dangers of second-hand smoke.
Police will issue an on-the-spot 50 pounds fine which could increase to up to 2,500 pounds if the person, caught smoking in cars in the presence of children, is taken to courts.
Police chiefs, however, said that they will not be heavily enforcing the ban. Officers will often let motorists off with a warning, exercising "education not prosecution."
"Forces will be following guidance from the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health by taking an educational advisory and non-confrontational approach," a spokesperson for the National Police Chief's Council said today.
Public Health Minister Jane Ellison, while announcing the ban earlier this year said, "Three million children are exposed to secondhand smoke in cars, putting their health at risk."
"We know that many of them feel embarrassed or frightened to ask adults to stop smoking which is why the regulations are an important step in protecting children from the harms of second-hand smoke," Ellison had said.
The relaxed attitude to the new legislation continues on from the debate between ministers on the law, with many calling the new rules unenforceable and unnecessary.
The new law also stipulates that if a passenger is smoking in a car with a child present, both the adult passenger and the driver are committing an offence.
The law is being changed to protect youngsters from the effects of second-hand smoke which can put them at risk of serious conditions including cancer, bronchitis and pneumonia among others. The law applies to every driver in England and Wales.