Campervan drivers travelling through Wales may well be liable for prosecution if they are caught smoking in their vehicle if a child is also present.
In a move that will be the first of its kind in the UK, the devolved Welsh Assembly has announced that it may consider a smoking ban in any kind of vehicle if a child is also travelling in the vehicle. This week sees the launch of the “Fresh Start” campaign in the Principality, the aim of which is to dissuade motorists from smoking in their cars. However, the Government in Wales are quite robust in their assertion that if persuasion does not work then they are quite willing to pass a law to enforce the campaign.
Chief Medical Officer for Wales, Dr Tony Jewell, said “Children in vehicles are particularly at risk from second hand smoke. Exposure to these chemicals puts children at risk from a range of conditions, including sudden infant death syndrome and asthma. There is robust evidence that the level of toxic chemicals is very high in motor vehicles, even with a window open. The Fresh Start Wales campaign aims to make people aware that smoking in vehicles is dangerous for their passengers, particularly children.”
At the moment campervan insurance providers have not commented on the Welsh Government statement but there is no doubt that holiday makers, typically the kind of people who drive campervans, could find themselves falling foul of the law without their knowledge and possibly rendering their insurance void. The border between England and Wales is not that visible in many places.
Simon Clarke from the pro smoking group FOREST said he was appalled at the idea and thought smokers were getting a raw deal. He said: “I think it’s outrageous at the way they’re treating smokers considering there are 10m smokers throughout the United Kingdom who contribute a massive amount to tobacco taxation – over £10bn a year. It’s a perfectly legal product and I think it’s quite wrong the way smokers have been treated.”