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Pro-smoking group: Labour 'playing politics' with issue

Pro-smoking group Forest has accused Labour of "playing politics" with its attempt to ban smoking in cars carrying children and said the measure would be difficult to enforce.

Director Simon Clark said: "We think legislation is a very heavy-handed way to tackle this problem.

A man smokes a cigarette as he sits in his car.
Simon Clark of Forest thinks banning smoking in cars with children would 'lead to a lot of problems'. Credit: REUTERS/Phil Noble

"I don't think it is as big a problem as they like to make out. The vast majority of smokers wouldn't dream of lighting a cigarette in a car with a child.

"If you say 'Let's ban smoking in cars with children present', are you going to go on and try and ban smoking in the home if children are present? I think this would set a very bad precedent and lead to a lot of problems."

Read: Labour attempts to ban smoking in cars with children

Labour: Laws and education 'work well hand in hand'

Shadow public health minister Luciana Berger said legislation and education "can work very well hand in hand" to ensure drivers do not smoke when there are children in the vehicle.

When asked if launching an educational campaign would be more effective than enforcing a ban Ms Berger told Daybreak, "I don't think it's either or."

"I think we need to look at education as a lot of people don't know that smoke within a car is 23 times more toxic than it is smoking in a building or a home, and that's obviously very important that people know that", she continued.

"But we also know that legislation alongside an education campaign can make a massive difference."

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Damage to children's lungs 'may not be reversible'

 Professor Stephen Spiro
Professor Stephen Spiro backed the ban because it would prevent kids from having their lungs damaged while they were still growing. Credit: Daybreak/ITV

Damage done to children's lungs by second hand smoke "may not be reversible", a health expert warned.

Professor Stephen Spiro, Deputy Chairman of the British Lung Foundation, told Daybreak children's lungs are still growing into their mid-teens, so any damage done by cigarette smoke may well be permanent.

"The problem really is that smoking in cars is extremely bad for children - 300,000 visits to GPs are generated by bad soar throats, ear ache, worsening of asthma and other childhood conditions.

"The lungs in children grow until they are in their mid-teens, so that damage may not be reversible."

Read more: Lords debate smoking in cars ban

Labour attempts to ban smoking in cars carrying a child

Labour will attempt to impose a ban on smoking in cars that are carrying children in England later today.

Labour peers will table an amendment to the Children and Families Bill going through the Lords.

The House of Lords pictured using a fish-eye lense.
The House of Lords will debate the amendment to the Children and Families Bill. Credit: PA

If passed, it will give police the power to issue any driver caught smoking with a child in the vehicle with a £60 fine.

However, ministers say education campaigns are a more effective way to discourage people than a £60 fine.

Read more: Drop in child asthma cases after smoking ban

Number of drivers asleep at the wheel 'horrifying'

The number of drivers momentarily falling asleep behind the wheel is "horrifying" and more needs to be done to make sure motorists "get sufficient sleep" before taking to the road, a charity has said.

Brake deputy chief executive Julie Townsend said:

The fact that so many drivers - especially men - have head-nodded at the wheel is horrifying, even more so that many don't recognise this means they have fallen asleep briefly.

This survey suggests this is down to many people failing to ensure they always get sufficient sleep before embarking on journeys.

We need all drivers to wake up to the fact that "head nodding" is falling asleep, and can easily lead to catastrophe, but it can, of course be prevented.

– Julie Townsend, Brake

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Survey: Men more likely to drive on little sleep

A survey has found that men are more likely to drive on less than five hours' sleep than women.

A higher proportion of men also admitted to having drifted off behind the wheel.

The data, collected by road safety charity Brake and insurance firm Direct Line, found the following:

  • Almost half (49%) admitted to driving after less than three hours' sleep
  • Men (55%) were more likely than women (45%) to drive after less than five hours' sleep
  • Only 2% of women drivers have drifted off compared with 14% of men

(Sources: Survey by Brake and Direct Line)

Read more: '45% of male drivers' admit 'head nodding' while driving

Almost half of men admit 'head nodding' behind wheel

Almost half of male drivers admitted to drifting off momentarily while behind the wheel, research has revealed.

Sleeping driving
More men then women admitted to falling asleep for a second while driving. Credit: PA

45% of the male drivers questioned about their sleep patterns and driving behaviour admitted they "head nodded", also known as micro sleeping, while behind the wheel.

One third of 1,000 drivers quizzed confessed to drifting off for a moment while driving, said insurance company Direct Line and road safety charity Brake, who collected the data.

Tired driving kills at least 300 people on UK roads every year, according to Brake.

Database will allow insurers to 'price more accurately'

Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude has said that the move to put driving licence records online is part of a wider government drive to towards digital services.

It is great news that DVLA is about to launch online driving records which can be used by anyone with a driving licence as well as by the insurance industry.

This will enable insurers, for example, to price much more accurately, because they will not have to take anything on trust.

When people say what their endorsements are on their licences you can check it so you can price much more accurately so you can reduce the cost of insurance for most people.

– Francis Maude, cabinet office minister
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