Not if there are children present...
In this week's Scrubbing Up, the new president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health says smoking in the car when we're travelling with children should be banned.
What do you think? Here are some of the comments you have been sending in to this week's Scrubbing up.
I recall one particularly horrific trip to Exeter with my mother, my grandmother and grandfather, all 20-40 a day smokers, where my sister and I endured 4 hours each way in a mini (windows closed - it was winter and the adults were cold!) with them. I felt physically ill for the entire journey and for several hours after.
I started smoking when I was 15, no doubt due to inhaling a highly addictive drug all my life and having grown up with all of my role models clearly showing me that to be an adult this was something you should be doing.
Fortunately I stopped 4 years later when it became clear to me that I was a slave to a pointless, expensive (in terms of money and health) addiction.
Sean Gibbins, Lymington, UK
I have children and I smoke in the car, albeit with the window open, I have done this all my life, my eldest are 21 and 20 my youngest from 2nd marriage 8 and 4 none of them have health issues, as for passive smoking it is still unproven and that's a FACT, find something else better to do it's getting boring now.
Andrew, Nottingham UK
Yes, I think the Professor is right, I am a smoker myself, I often have my three year old grandson in my car and would never dream of smoking whilst he is in the car, why should I subject him to the dangers of second-hand smoke. I hope the ban is put into place.
Janet Altiner, Cardiff, South Wales
From first hand experience as a child, I would have banned this before worrying about pubs and restaurants. Smelling smoke would never bother me normally, but I'll never forget car journeys with a chain smoking uncle - windows up or down, if you're smoking in the front of a car, that smoke will blow directly and constantly into the child's face. I used to retch.
Clive Heaton, Woking, Surrey
My father in law often smokes in the car when he has non smoking passengers, and I can't stand it! I don't say anything because I don't want to disturb the peace, but that doesn't mean its not a horrible habit and something very unpleasant to inflict on someone else.
Fiona H, Amersham, UK
I am a smoker, but I will not smoke in the house at all, and definitely not in the car when my 20 month old daughter is in there! There is enough in the press about 2nd hand smoke, and I don't want to subject my daughter to it. I am big enough and ugly enough to decide for myself if I want to smoke, I will not force it on my daughter.
Jo , Southampton, Hampshire
I so wish this was law when I was a child. Both my parents used to smoke and car journeys were the worst place for me. I hated the smell and would have to have the window down in the back no matter what the weather was. However, I used to find that all it did was draw the smoke from the front of the car towards me. My parents rarely had their windows down in the front unless it was hot. Back then passive smoking wasn't even thought of, so my parents didn't think of it as poisoning us. My childhood would have been greatly improved with all the smoking bans we have today.
Brian Grindley, Perranporth, UK
We know smoking is damaging to health, if people choose to take that risk and smoke, that is their choice, but we need to protect those who decide not to smoke and those not yet old enough to make a choice. Both my parents smoked, I decided at the age of 4 that I would not smoke. I had to endure years of second hand smoke and car journeys were torture. There was no escaping the fog that crept from the front and seemed to consume my oxygen before I could have my share. I wish I had been protected from second-hand smoke. I would go further and call for a ban on smoking if you are with a child. Treat tobacco as we do other drugs and keep it out of sight and reach of children.
Sherilee Densham, Lytham St Annes
I'm an ex-smoker but when I smoked I never smoked with my son in the car. Like him I remember long trips in the as a child with my parents smoking but they didn't have the education we do today. Smoking should be banned from cars with children in. Although parents should not need a law to make them do this.
Rob Smith, Plymouth, England
It is easy as a non-smoker to agree with this idea, I don't understand why anyone who smokes thinks it is acceptable to expose others to their smoke. However in the last 10 years or so we have become a nation weighed down by petty legislation which intrudes into every aspect of our lives and as a result many people have lost their common sense. Common sense would tell a smoker that smoking in a confined space with a child present is not a good idea - maybe we should get rid of the petty rules and try getting people used to thinking things through and using their common sense instead.
As a child my father used to smoke in the car, which always made me feel sick, as well as being a reformed smoker now myself, when my husband smokes in the car with our two children, they have voiced the same as I did as a child and yes I would be in full support of the ban!!
Ellen Forster, Ivybridge, England
This is absolutely ridiculous. In my honest opinion it would be a step too far, what would be next? Banning smoking in your own home? We have it forced down our necks everyday in adverts on TV - which by the way people become insensitive too, same as the back of cigarette packets. Okay so people shouldn't smoke? What about free will? It is our choice whether we do or not and people don't need it forcing down our necks everyday to quit! If they want to quit they will!
I smoke but do not smoke in my car when my little girl is in it. However, when on my own do smoke in my car with the windows fully open. I think the majority of my generation who are in their 30s are a bit more conscious in comparison to our parents who grew up when it was more acceptable to smoke around their kids indoors or in the car.
Adam A, Plumstead Common, UK
Of course he's right, how could he not be? Currently, if I smack my child in an effort to teach them right from wrong, I could end up in court, but the parent who is prepared to poison their child for nothing more than personal selfish 'gain' is allowed to do so. Which scenario would any responsible adult consider the more lamentable?
Yet another attack on smokers. But I agree with this one. Don't make children breathe in your smoke!
Paul Baxter, Leeds
As (I'm ashamed to say) a smoker of 30 years with 2 children of my own, I find it unbelievable that any smoker would subject their children to cigarette smoke in the house, let alone in the confines of a vehicle. I see it day after day and it makes me sick to my stomach. I agree wholeheartedly that smoking should be illegal in any vehicle.
Matthew Sefton, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
Anyone who smokes in a car with children present is obviously devoid of any awareness that this could be detrimental to their health. Or worse, realises this but does not care. The obvious assumption will be 'as long as I wind the window down there isn't a problem'. Such ignorance and stupidity dictates that, even if this ban were introduced, these people would be prone to harming their children in other ways such as smoking at home, or feeding their kids a constant supply of fizzy drinks and junk food. If their overall concept of being responsible for the welfare of their children cannot even extend to affording their basic right to unpolluted air, I fear these children will suffer in other ways throughout their upbringing, whether a ban is introduced or not.
Matt P, West Sussex
"Only then can we hope that necessary measures are viewed not as the 'nanny state' but as 'common sense'."
Then educate, don't legislate. Common sense is exactly that, something which the majority understands and follows, without being strong-armed into it. This will become just another excuse to be pulled over by Traffic Police, 'to check if there were children in the car'.
It is only a matter of time before the smoking ban is extended anyway. Given today's wide acceptance that second-hand smoke kills, smoking should only permitted where people wish to poison themselves alone in the privacy of their own homes.
Peter Essex, Dorking, Surrey
I totally agree with protecting children and adults trapped in a car with somebody smoking. Children have no choice when selfish adults smoke to satisfy themselves. If legislation is not passed these children may have the opportunity to sue the government in future for not protecting them!
Smoking whilst driving should also be banned. You can't use a mobile phone and you can't eat/drink whilst driving. Smoking affects your control just as much and if the lit end of the cigarette is knocked off can cause accidents when the driver gets burned!
Jane Platt, Lowestoft, England
Yes, smoking in cars with children in them should definitely be banned. I was a child whose parents both smoked in the car, and their smoke made me feel unbelievably ill. I also had multiple chest infections as a child, no doubt because of the second-hand smoke in the house. Going one step further, smoking should be banned, full stop, in an ideal world. Generations from now, people will be astonished that smoking was condoned at all.
Anne Hamilton, Bourne End
Yes of course it should be banned. It is an incredibly selfish and dangerous situation for children to be a confined area with cigarette smoke. However, it will be hard to monitor and will continue to happen just like using phones in the car does. Politicians will at some stage have to take the step of upgrading tobacco to a dangerous drug and ban it completely.
I am 38 years of age and have smoked approximately 10-15 cigarettes a day since I was 16. I have served in the British Army for 21 years and have two daughters aged 5 and 10; however, I have never smoked in the house and certainly have never smoked in the car whilst they have been travelling with me. I was subjected to in-car smoking by both of my parents with the majority of the time having the windows closed.
I agreed with banning smoking in pubs and the work place and also totally agree with this new proposal to ban smoking in private vehicles with children on board under the age of 16. In my view, there can't be anything more important than the health of our children.
The ban on smoking in cars with children in them in Ontario, Canada, has been widely accepted by smokers as well as non-smokers, and is regarded as something very positive. Canada (and Ontario in particular) has often lead the way in restricting smoking - restaurants were required to provide physically separate non-smoking areas way back in the early 90s, and were totally non-smoking by 1999. The UK is simply playing catch-up, and this is not a step too far.
John Frewen-Lord, Nettleton, UK
Who will be enforcing the new ruling? The same "police" who enforce drivers who use their phones whilst driving?? I think it's incredibly dangerous to smoke at the wheel no matter who is on board - and why would you differentiate between children and adults? Passive smoking is a killer. Smoking in cars should be made illegal. Fact.
R. Foreman, Orpington Kent
Why is smoking while driving permitted at all? All the arguments against mobile phone use are at least as valid for smoking - possibly more so, would you drop a lit cigarette in your lap if you needed both hands on the wheel? Add to this the fact that all drivers appear to chuck their fag butts out of the window creating more litter and you can quickly build a fairly obvious case for banning smoking in cars completely.
If I smoke in the car with the kids in it (rarely), I also have the windows open, and hold the cigarette outside the car when we are stationary. If the wind is blowing smoke in, they say so, and I put it out. Perhaps having uptight drivers with screaming kids in the back is seen as a better option? Or maybe we should go all the way and ban cars. Now that would be much safer for kids. Less pollution, more play spaces.
I wrote to my MP years ago to get support for banning smoking while driving. Besides the health risk there is evidence that the increased CO in the blood affects driving ability. Add that to the distraction caused by lighting up, dealing with the ash and the possibility of dropping the lighted tip or the whole cigarette in the lap. Surely it can only be political cowardice that has allowed it to carry on for so long. Ban it now.
Alan Flook, Bedford, Bedfordshire