Changes to Laws on Tobacco, E-Cigarettes and Smoking
We have all heard and seen in various publications the dangers of second-hand smoke, in particular the risks they pose to children. Through studies the chemicals we breathe in have been linked to causing serious health conditions such as cancers, meningitis, bronchitis and pneumonia, to name a few.
Children, in particular, are amongst the most vulnerable to these chemicals through their physiology. They have less developed airways, lungs and immune systems, therefore breathe more rapidly taking in more of the harmful gasses, 80% of which are invisible to the naked eye.
Therefore the law is changing in order to help protect children and young people from such harm.
The Department of Health have recently published new laws about tobacco, e-cigarettes and smoking that will come into effect from the 1st October 2015. The changes will effect both retailers selling tobacco and e-cigarette products as well as the rules around smoking in private vehicles.
The changes that will apply to retailers mean that:
- Retailers will not be able to sell electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) or e-liquids to anyone under the age of 18
- Adults will not be allowed to buy (or try to buy) e-cigarettes or tobacco products to anyone under the age of 18.
These rules will bring smoking further in line with the selling of alcohol.
Smoking in Private Vehicles:
The changes that will be enforced in relation to smoking in private vehicles specify that:
- It will be illegal to smoke tobacco in a private vehicle that is carrying someone under the age of 18.
Further details about smoking tobacco in private vehicles mean that there are 2 separate offences within the ruling:
- To smoke if it is enclosed, there are multiple people present, and if any of the persons is under 18 years old.
- If a driver does not stop someone smoking in their vehicle in these circumstances.
Therefore if there is a 17 year old driver smoking in their own car then no offence has been committed but a driver who smokes whilst transporting a 17 year old passenger is committing an offence. These rules do not apply to e-cigarettes.
Fixed penalties will be £50 for each of the offences, so someone could get 2 fines depending on the circumstance. Enforcement officers will use their discretion upon deciding whether to issue a warning, fixed penalty notice, or refer the offence to court.
Enclosed vehicle clarification
The rules apply to:
- Any private vehicle that has a roof. This includes vehicles with an open sunroof and windows, also you cannot sit in the open doorway of an enclosed vehicle; and
- Motorhomes, campervans and caravans when being used as a vehicle
The rules don’t apply to:
- A convertible car, or coupe, with its roof fully down and put away
- Motorhomes, campervans and caravans when being used as living accommodation
- Work vehicles and public transport (they are already covered by smoke-free legislation)
- Boats, ships, aircraft (they have separate rules that apply already)
Make sure your employees are aware of these changes so they know they are acting within the law. For retailers selling tobacco and e-cigarette products make sure you have your policies updated so you know how to deal with the changes and any potential breaches. If you would like any help with this (or anything else HR-related) please contact Peopletime to discuss how we can assist your business on 01280 875220 or [email protected].