Police in Tower Hamlets have been stopping cars with child passengers to remind drivers that smoking in cars with children is an offence.
The Metropolitan Police in the borough began the clampdown this week to enforce nationwide legislation which came into effect on October 1.
Officers have been stopping cars at the entrance to the Asda supermarket on Ferry Road, Isle of Dogs and plan to expand the programme to Chapman Street, Shadwell in the coming weeks.
Amy Whitelock Gibbs, Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Services in Tower Hamlets, said: “This new legislation is another step in ensuring that the borough’s young people are free from the harms of secondhand smoke. Using tobacco in any form is very harmful to your health so we urge all residents to consider speaking to local stop smoking services.”
The new legislation makes it an offence to smoke in a car with anyone under the age of 18 and could result in both the driver and the smoker being fined a fixed penalty fee of £50. To date there have been no recorded fines under the legislation.
Partnership Task Force, the joint initiative between the police and council, which responds to residents’ community health concerns, have reminded residents the law will be enforced to protect against the “real and substantial threat to children’s health.”
“We know stopping smoking can be tough,” added Whitelock Gibbs, “so there’s lots of free advice and support on offer.” Tower Hamlets operates a dedicated Smokefree help scheme, which offers those who live or work in the borough specialist advice and guidance in making their home and workspaces smoke free.
By Tara Dein