Are you quitting smoking this Stoptober?
If you're a smoker, we're sure you're well aware of the health risks. Smoking tobacco is the largest cause of cancer in the UK, says Cancer Research, and the largest preventable cause of death in the world.
The month of October is also Stoptober (aka, Stop Smoking Month). Launched back in 2012, the annual initiative sees tens of thousands of smokers start their journey to a healthier and happier lifestyle by binning cigarettes. According to the official website, smokers who give up for 28 days are five times more likely to kick the habit for good.
In the meantime, if you feel a little lost on the rules surrounding smoking in cars, here's the lowdown…
What the law says
Smoking while driving is not currently considered an offence, provided the driver has full control of the car. If smoking distracts the driver and causes them to act carelessly on the road – meaning, they pose a danger to themselves, their passengers and other road users – then this is a chargeable offence.
A driver could receive three to nine penalty points on their licence, and receive a fine of up to £2,500 for driving without due care and attention, or for not being in proper control of the car. In more serious cases, it could result in a driving disqualification.
Smoking when kids are in the car
As the Gov.UK website explains, as of October 2015 it's been against the law to smoke in a car carrying passengers under the age of 18. And rightly so – each time a child or young person breathes in second-hand smoke, they inhale thousands of chemicals, putting them at risk of cancer, meningitis, bronchitis and pneumonia.
The law applies whether the smoker is the driver of the car or a passenger, though it doesn't apply to convertibles.
Smoking in a parked car
Here's one scenario that's been catching a lot of drivers out. If you're parked up and have a child passenger, it's still illegal to smoke sat in the car with the door open. This is because it's very easy for smoke to travel to the back seats and pollute the lungs of little ones.
What about vaping?
Using an e-cigarette with kids in the car isn't against the law. But, just like smoking, you'll be committing an offence if vaping distracts you and leads you to drive without due care and attention.
The large, plumes of smoke released by an e-cigarette can seriously impact your view of the road and increase the risk of a crash.
4 simple tips to help you quit
- Save all the money usually used for buying cigarettes in a separate account or jar and reward yourself for sticking at your goal. You'll be surprised at how much disposable cash you suddenly have once you've kicked your habit for good!
- Sit down and have a chat with your close friends and family, asking them to tell you why they want you to give up smoking. It might be an emotional conversation, but it'll give you a great incentive to call it quits.
- Take up a hobby to take your mind off smoking. Joining a gym or a fitness class will also support your health goals and give you more of a reason to wave goodbye to cigarettes.
- See Stoptober as an opportunity to give your home a good autumn clean, as the scent of tobacco smoke (stale or fresh) can trigger cravings.
If you've already quit smoking and have some tried-and-tested tricks to share, let us know what they are!