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The New Law on Smoking in Cars Explained

1st Oct 2015

The New Law on Smoking in Cars Explained

The law is changing to protect children and young people from the dangers of secondhand smoke.

Vaping in cars and the use of e cigarettes in cars is unaffected though you should always be considerate to your passengers whether children or adults.

Smoking ban in cars.

Smoking Ban in cars to protect children

From 1 October 2015 it will be illegal to smoke in a car (or other vehicles) with anyone under 18 present.

The law applies to every driver in England and Wales, including those aged 17 and those with a provisional driving licence. The law does not apply if the driver is 17 years old and is on their own in the car.

Both the driver and the smoker could be fined £50. 

These regulations do not currently apply to Electronic cigarettes, although there is speculation that at some future date, they may be added to the regulations.

The law is quite complex, for example the rules apply differently when a caravan or motor home is being used as a vehicle/driven or as a living space.

But what is the definition of an “enclosed vehicle”, and does this mean if you simply open your windows you are complying with the law? Well, an enclosed vehicle is one that is enclosed wholly or partly by a roof – if you have a sunroof, and this is open it is still classed as enclosed in the eyes of the law in regards to this legislation, however convertible cars, or coupes, with the roof completely down and stowed is not enclosed and so isn’t covered by the legislation.

If you are stopped and are sat in the doorway of an enclosed vehicle, you are still breaking the law, caravans and motor homes on the move are also covered by the legislation, it is only when they are stationary on a site that they are classed as living accommodation and no longer part of the new rules.

The rules don’t apply to:

  • boats, ships and aircraft, as they have their own rules
  • work vehicles and public transport, as they are already covered by “smokefree” legislation. (

What will happen if I am caught breaking the new legislation?

The fixed penalty notice fine for both offences is £50. Somebody who commits both offences could get 2 fines. Private vehicles must be carrying more than one person to be smokefree so somebody who is 17 and smoking alone in a private vehicle won’t be committing an offence.

Enforcement officers (usually the police) will use their discretion to decide whether to issue a warning or a fixed penalty notice, or whether to refer an offence to court.

Full details are on the UK Government website: