MP STEVE Reed is calling for a change in the law to ban smoking in cars when children are present. The Croydon North MP is to propose a change to the Children & Families Bill at a committee meeting today (Thursday). Mr Reed pointed to research which shows 165,000 children each year develop conditions such as asthma, bronchitis and lung infections due to passive smoking. The total cost of treating these diseases is estimated to be £23 million per year. "We protect the public from the dangers of passive smoking on public transport and in offices, and yet thousands of children are exposed to second-hand smoke in family cars," said Mr Reed. "Unlike adults, children don't understand the dangers and are often unable to stop adults from smoking around them. It's time we changed the law to protect children from the life-threatening diseases associated with passive smoking." Mr Reed, who sits on the Children & Families Bill Committee, said the amendment has the support of more than a dozen organisations, including the British Heart Foundation, Asthma UK and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. He cited research by the British Lung Foundation in 2011 which found one in five children were exposed to second-hand smoke in cars, and over half of all children reported being exposed at some point. A survey of MumsNet users conducted by the same organisation found that 86 per cent of parents supported the ban, including 83 per cent of smokers. Children are vulnerable to second-hand smoke as they have smaller lungs, faster breathing and less developed immune systems. Do you think smoking should be banned in cars when children are present? Leave your views below.
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