What the law means
It is illegal to smoke in a motor vehicle carrying young people under the age of 18. This includes all enclosed motor vehicles carrying one or more under 18s.
When the law comes into place
From 1 September 2015 it will be illegal to smoke and to allow smoking in a car carrying young people under the age of 18.
The driver is responsible for preventing smoking in a car carrying anyone under 18 years. A driver can face a fine of £500 for smoking themselves and £2000 for not preventing smoking.
Any other passenger smoking where an under 18 is present will also be liable for a fine of £500.
Why the law is in place
The need for a law to ban smoking in cars carrying young people is because:
- second-hand smoke (also known as passive smoking) contains high levels of toxins and carcinogens
- second-hand smoke is harmful to everyone, but children are particularly at risk as they breathe more rapidly, so breathe more in
- 81% of people in Jersey support smokefree cars
- children who breathe in second-hand smoke are more at risk of serious health problems, including asthma attacks, meningitis and bronchitis
- there is no safe level of second-hand smoke in a motor vehicle, even with the windows rolled down
- children have little control or choice over breathing in second-hand smoke
- the pollution levels caused by smoking in a car can be 35 times greater than levels considered safe by the World Health Organisation
- it's estimated that up to 1800 under 18s in Jersey may be exposed to second-hand smoke in cars on a weekly basis
Exemptions to the law
There are few exemptions to the law. These include:
- open-top or convertible-style cars (the evidence of harm from second-hand tobacco smoke is specifically from smoke in an enclosed vehicle whether or not windows are open)
- any stationary vehicle that is permanently equipped to be a person’s primary residence
Failure to comply with the law is a criminal offence.
If you are caught smoking in your motor vehicle, you could be fined between £500 and £2500.