Smoking could soon be banned in cars where children are passengers following a vote in the House of Commons by MPs last night.
The amendment to the Children and Families Bill was passed by 376 votes to 107.
It will empower ministers to make it a criminal offence for drivers to fail to prevent smoking in their privately owned vehicles when children are present, but they are not compelled to do so.
Representatives from Smokefree Wakefield said children breathing in other people’s cigarette smoke resulted in 300,000 GP visits and 9,500 hospital admissions last year in the UK.
Research shows babies and children are at a much greater risk from the dangers of passive smoking, because they breathe faster and deeper taking in more of the harmful chemicals.
Passive smoking can lead them to develop asthma and chest infections, put them at greater risk of cot death and meningitis and cause glue ear, as well as behaviour and learning difficulties.