At the time of writing, the ban on smoking in cars carrying children has just come into force in England (1 October). Of course there are arguments for and against, and cries that the ban will be difficult to enforce, but on balance one wonders how this cannot be a good thing. For children, smokers and the healthcare professionals that deal with the consequences every day. Smokers will become more aware of the associated dangers of smoking as understanding of the ban increases and the chief medical officer, Dame Sally Davies, is on record saying she hopes the ban triggers quit attempts in those it will affect. In terms of children’s health, the ban is believed capable of reducing general practice visits significantly. The effects on their long-term health will be harder to measure, but the more children perceive smoking to be a bad thing, the less likely they are to become serious adult smokers. And the healthier they remain, the lower the burden on general practice and the NHS.
E-cigarettes are exempt from the ban, although there is concern that ‘vaping’ in front of children dilutes the anti-smoking message they receive.
The public health message around smoking continues to increase as the habit will also be banned in Welsh prisons and four in England from 2016.
On another note, this is my final issue before I take maternity leave from Independent Nurse at the end of next week. The acting editor, Mike Shallcross, will soon become familiar to you all and he has a strong background in healthcare publishing. I will be keeping an eye on events from afar and look forward to returning to a stronger profession and magazine.