Twenty of Britain’s most senior doctors have called for a ban on smoking in cars in a bid to protect children against the effects of inhaling smoke.
Writing in a letter to The Times newspaper, the doctors urged the Government to bring in laws prohibiting all smoking in vehicles and in public places visited by young people such as parks and playgrounds.
A report today by the Royal College of Physicians concluded that 300,000 GP appointments and 9500 hospital admissions a year are caused by the effects of smoke on children, costing the NHS about £23 million.
Paediatric health problems attributable to second-hand smoke include 20,000 cases of lower respiratory tract infection, 120,000 cases of middle-ear disease and 200 cases of bacterial meningitis, it estimates.
About 40 sudden infant deaths are also caused by passive smoking annually.