A cross-curricular activity: Would you support or oposse a ban on smoking in cars with children?

Arancha, Jesús and I designed this activity to give you the opportunity to communicate meaningfully in English debating an interesting topic using your knowledge in Biology.

Smoking was banned in England in workplaces and most enclosed public spaces in July 2007 following similar legislation in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The law prohibited smoking in vehicles used for work. But now, things might go further and smoking in private cars carrying children could soon become illegal if a vote in the House of Lords is passed.

On the one hand, campaigners say the developing lungs of children are much more vulnerable to the effects of second-hand smoke – which can be concentrated in cars – increasing their risk of illnesses that range from asthma and colds to lung cancer. Shadow public health minister Luciana Berger, said it was important to protect children, because they could not exercise the same choice as adults. Moreover, a ban on smoking in cars carrying children is already in place in some states in America, Australia, Canada and a few countries in Europe and we can learn from their experience.

Listen to her by clicking here

On the other hand, Health Minster Earl Howe said during the debate on Wednesday: “We all want to eradicate smoking in cars carrying children”. “The government believes that encouraging lasting and positive behaviour change by making smokers aware of the significant health risks of second-hand smoke will be more effective than resorting to legislation, which is a blunt instrument to tackle the problem.”Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg says he does not support a ban on smoking in cars carrying children in England.

Listen to him here

Your task: You will have to debate this issue in class following Arancha’s directions.

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1 Response to A cross-curricular activity: Would you support or oposse a ban on smoking in cars with children?

  1. Milly says:

    This certainly is an interesting and controversial topic. And I can see both sides to the debate. As Luciana Berger mentioned, it definitely is important to protect children (and others) from the health risks associated with smoking. That’s why the UK has already placed a ban on smoking in public places and recently increased the age limit to purchase cigarettes to 18, from the previous 16 years.
    However, Earl Howe also makes a good point by focusing on education rather than legislation. The law can only go so far in changing people’s attitudes and habits towards certain issues and I believe that smoking is included in this. If people believe they can get away with smoking in their car in the presence of children and do not realise why they shouldn’t, then they will continue to do so. Change will take place at a much more rapid rate if the general public understands more thoroughly the health implications for children caused by passive smoking.
    However, as long as the ban does not become a replacement for an educational approach to the topic, it remains a positive action. While more long-term, educational measures are still in the process of being implemented, a ban of this sort could be a short-term deterrent for those who do currently smoke in their cars and will, at the very least, promote debate and reflection amongst the general public.
    Milly (Language assistant)

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