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Doctors and nurses endorse smoking ban in cars

PROPOSED BAN: Smokers will no longer be allowed to light up if new legislation is passed (PA)

HUNDREDS OF doctors and other health experts have thrown their weight behind a Labour proposal to ban smoking in cars.

Last week the House of Lords voted to give their blessings to the proposals and the issue will be voted on in parliament on Monday (Feb 10).

But today (Feb 7) over 700 nurses, doctors and surgeons working across the NHS, put their names to a letter urging MPs to back a ban of the practice in England.

The signatories to the letter in the British Medical Journal say the move is needed "to protect the well-being of children now and in the future".

The letter argues that second-hand smoke exposure is a "major cause of ill-health in children", particularly among the most disadvantaged groups.

It says smoking in cars exposes children to particularly "high amounts of tobacco smoke" and there is now a consensus that children should be protected from such unnecessary hazards.

The signatories have been co-ordinated by Dr Nicholas Hopkinson, from Imperial College London, who is chairman of the British Thoracic Society's chronic obstructive pulmonary disease specialist advisory group.

He said: "This letter issues a powerful statement from the medical professionals of this country - the people who, every day, are treating illnesses brought on by second-hand smoke in children - about the rights of children to breathe clean air that won't make them sick.

"Next week, MPs have a chance to help protect children from the proven dangers of second-hand smoke.

"If they vote in favour, it could help protect the health of literally hundreds of thousands of children nationwide. If they vote against, it will go down in history as a huge missed opportunity."

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