A Stoke-on-Trent councillor has backed a ban on smoking in cars with children as latest figures show an alarming number of smokers in the city.
Cllr Adrian Knapper, Health and Wellbeing Cabinet member for Stoke-on-Trent City Council, hopes the new law will prompt more people to stop smoking.
New figures show about 28% of adults (aged 18 and over) in Stoke-on-Trent are smokers, while the average for England is 19.5%.
Stoke’s percentage is a significantly higher number, and has increased year on year by 1% over the last three years.
The percentage of women smoking during pregnancy in Stoke is 21.1%, compared to the national average of 12.7%.
Cllr Knapper said: “We’d rather see people who smoke in Stoke-on-Trent kicking the habit for good, as it’s one of the biggest causes of premature death and illness.
“But if people do smoke, it’s so important they protect children from the dangers of second-hand smoke.”
Residents in Stoke agree with the ban.
Jade Ainsworth, 23, from Goldenhill, said: “I never smoke in the car with my child nor do I allow anyone else to.
“We are meant to protect our young and a car full of smoke is not only uncomfortable, but it smells and is dangerous.”
Michael Procter, a 23-year-old ecologist from Fenton, said: “I’m a smoker, and I would never smoke around kids.
“I think smoking should be banned in cars in general.
“It’s a distraction, and if you drop your fag you will probably burn yourself and crash and dropping cinders is always a risk.”
Simon Clark, director of the smokers’ group FOREST, said: “Legislation is excessive. The overwhelming majority of smokers know it’s inconsiderate to smoke in a car with children and they don’t do it.
Cllr Knapper added: “I urge smokers in the city to think very carefully about the impact their smoking has on children and to make their cars and homes smoke-free.”
For help quitting smoking, visit www.nhs.uk/smokefree for a range of free support and quitting advice, including the Smokefree app and Quit Kit.