TOP doctors have called for the Scottish Government to ban smoking in private cars.
The British Medical Association (BMA) said smoking in the enclosed spaces exposes passengers to very high levels of second-hand smoke.
They say this exposes them to 23 times the level of toxins found in a smoky bar and that children and the elderly were particularly susceptible.
The report said: “Children absorb more pollutants because of their size and have less developed immune systems.
“The elderly are prone to respiratory problems so Second Hand Smoke is especially dangerous for them.”
Dr Dean Marshall, Chairman of the BMA’s Scottish GP Committee, and a GP in Dalkeith, said today: “Every year in Scotland almost a quarter of all deaths are caused by smoking. That equates to over 13,000 deaths. This figure increases to a shocking six million worldwide.
“But behind the stark statistics doctors see the individual cases of ill-health and premature death caused by smoking and second-hand smoke. For this reason, doctors are committed to reducing the harm caused by tobacco.
“Scotland made a huge step forward in the fight against tobacco by banning smoking in all enclosed public places but more can still be done.
“We are calling on the Scottish Government to take the bold and courageous step of banning smoking in private vehicles. The evidence for extending the smoke-free legislation is compelling. This should form part of a new tobacco control strategy that will take us further towards our goal of achieving a smoke-free society by 2035.”
A Scottish government spokesman said the ban on smoking in enclosed public places had “undoubtedly reduced exposure to second-hand smoke among children in Scotland, partly as a result of the greater awareness among their parents, and those close to them, about the risks of second-hand smoke”.
He added: “While we have no plans to extend the smoke-free laws to private cars, the Scottish government is conscious that private cars are now one of the main places for exposure of children to second-hand smoke.
“In developing our refreshed national tobacco control strategy for publication next year we will consider with our health improvement partners what further steps might be taken to protect children from the risks posed by second-hand smoke.”