Breaking news: landlady fined for smoking in pub and Smoke-free Private Vehicles Bill passes second reading
The Bolton News has just contacted Forest for a quote.
A local landlady has been fined £80 plus £400 costs for smoking – and allowing customers to light up – in her pub.
I understand that the pub was raided by police officers (following a tip off?) and she was arrested on the premises. (The pub, I should add, is also her home.)
Meanwhile peers today passed at second reading (without a vote) the Smoke-free Private Vehicles Bill.
A private members' bill introduced by Lord Ribeiro, a Tory peer, it "seeks to amend the Health Act 2006 to make provision for a ban on smoking in private vehicles where there are children present".
I am doing an interview on the subject later this afternoon. In the meantime I have been sent this report:
Lord Ribeiro said: "This Bill is in effect a public health bill. It seeks to protect children from the effects of second-hand smoking in the same way that legislation exists to protect children through the appropriate use of car seats for those under the age of 14."
Under his Smoke-free Private Vehicles Bill, people caught would be given an opportunity to go on an awareness course (my italics)to avoid a fine on the first occasion they were spotted with a cigarette.
Thankfully not all peers are quite so authoritarian:
Tory Lord Colwyn warned the legislation could open the floodgates to a range of similar bans. "I regret the imposition of yet more nanny state legislation," he said.
"Banning smoking in cars with children present might surely open the floodgates to other bills which reflect the many harmful factors which effect us all at different times.
"I'm not sure that the Government will have the time or the inclination to take on so much legislation."
The Government too seems less than enthusiastic:
Earl Attlee, the Government's frontbench spokesman, said banning smoking in cars would be very difficult to enforce. It was not known what proportion of instances of ill health among children came as a result of passive smoking in cars, he told peers.
While local authority officers have the powers to prevent smoking in public places, they do not have the authority to stop cars or detain drivers.
Enforcement of any ban would therefore be up to the police, peers heard. Earl Attlee said: "Without authorisation to stop cars and therefore easily identify passengers, enforcement by local authority officers would be difficult.
"Therefore we see the only realistic option would be for the police to enforce any ban on smoking in cars. This additional task may not be welcome by police, on top of their many other responsibilities.
"The practicalities of enforcement may be further complicated by the fact that small children may not be easily visible from outside the vehicle and it may be difficult where the passengers in the car where somebody is smoking are under 18.
"I do not believe that we should legislate in this area without first identifying first how any law could be enforced effectively."
Summing up the debate, Lord Ribeiro said:
"I'm prepared to let my own individual liberties go for the benefit of young children. I think this is something the Government will need to take away and think about."