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Smoking in cars is now banned with passengers under 18 in Scotland

Under 18s don’t have a choice in how their parents and caregivers choose to live their lives, and this can put their health at risk. The government has made a rule change to prevent a driver or passenger smoking in a private vehicle if there is another passenger aged under 18 in Scotland. This includes motor caravans. Smoking is also banned in public transport vehicles and work vehicles in some circumstances.

The bill was introduced to protect children from the negative effects of passive smoking which is known to contribute to serious conditions such as asthma and bronchitis. As a vehicle is an enclosed space, the levels of certain toxic particles can reach dangerous concentrations in a very short space of time. Plus, these particles linger in the fabric within the vehicles. Smoking was already banned in vehicles carrying children in Britain and Wales since October 2015.

Smoking, along with eating and drinking, is also a distraction known to cause accidents.

The bill could have other positive side effects:

  • It could reduce the overall number of cigarettes smoked, which will save households money
  • The resale value of the vehicle will be higher as a vehicle that smells of smoke is less desirable to non-smoker purchasers


Drivers or passengers caught smoking with a passenger under 18 will receive an on-the-spot fine of £100 or a fine up to £1,000 if taken to court.

Following is the amended wording of Rule 148

Rule 148 of The Highway Code has been updated, as it’s now an offence in Scotland for anyone aged 18 or over to smoke in a private motor vehicle when there is someone under 18 in the vehicle and the vehicle is in a public place.

Rule 148

Safe driving and riding needs concentration. Avoid distractions when driving or riding such as

  • loud music (this may mask other sounds)
  • trying to read maps
  • starting or adjusting any music or radio
  • arguing with your passengers or other road users
  • eating and drinking
  • smoking

You MUST NOT, smoke in public transport vehicles or in vehicles used for work purposes in certain prescribed circumstances. Separate regulations apply to England, Wales and Scotland. In England and Wales, the driver MUST NOT smoke or allow anyone to smoke in an enclosed private vehicle carrying someone under 18, including motor caravans. In Scotland it is an offence for anyone aged 18 or over to smoke in a private motor vehicle (unless it is parked and being used as living accommodation) when there is someone under 18 in the vehicle and the vehicle is in a public place.

Darren has owned several companies in the automotive, advertising and education industries. He has run driving theory educational websites since 2010.

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