Smoking in vehicles

Update on new law on smoking in cars and other vehicles with someone under 18.

It is illegal to smoke in a car (or other vehicle) with anyone under 18. The law changed on 1 October 2015, to protect children and young people from the dangers of secondhand smoke.

Both the driver and the smoker could be fined £50. The law applies to every driver in England and Wales, including those aged 17 and those with a provisional driving licence.

The law applies:

  • to any private vehicle that is enclosed wholly or partly by a roof
  • when people have the windows or sunroof open, or the air conditioning on
  • when someone sits smoking in the open doorway of a vehicle

The law does not apply to:

  • e-cigarettes (vaping)
  • a driver who is 17 years old if they are on their own in the car
  • a convertible car with the roof completely down

Every time a child breathes in secondhand smoke, they breathe in thousands of chemicals. This puts them at risk of serious conditions including meningitis, cancer, bronchitis and pneumonia. It can also make asthma worse.

Since 2007 it's been a criminal offence to smoke a cigarette in an enclosed public place.

This means that vehicles and premises like pubs, restaurants, cafes, shops, toilets, doorways, halls, lifts, offices, factories, warehouses, lorries, taxis, etc. are all smoke free.

The aim is to protect people against exposure to passive smoking and the associated health risks. It also makes smoking more difficult, encouraging smokers to give up, whilst discouraging young people from starting in the first place. Parents are also being encouraged to make their homes and cars smoke-free for the benefit of their children.

The penalties and fines for the smoke free offences set out in the Health Act 2006 are:

Smoking in a smokefree premises or vehicle, Section 7(2)

A fixed penalty notice of £50 (discounted to £30 if paid within 15 days from the issue of a notice) or a fine by a court not exceeding level 1 on the standard scale (up to £200).

Failure to display no smoking signs in smoke free premises and vehicles as required by the new law, section 6(5)

A fixed penalty notice of £200 (discounted to £150 if paid within 15 days from the issue of a notice) or a fine by a court not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale (up to £1,000).

Failing to prevent smoking in smoke free premises or vehicles by management, section 8(4)

A fine by a court not exceeding level 4 on the standard scale (up to £2,500).

Obstruction of an authorised enforcement officer, section 11

Level 3 on the standard scale (up to £1,000).

And it's also against the law to throw away or drop your cigarette end in the street. Discarded tobacco products left in an open space could lead to a fine in court of £2,500 or an on the spot fine of £75.

For further information on the smoking ban visit Smoke Free England

Last updated: Wed 20 December, 2023 @ 11:50