Smoking should be banned in cars to protect the health of children and save the NHS more than 23 million a year, according to the Royal College of Physicians (RCP).
The RCP wants the ban on smoking extended from public indoor spaces to all cars as well as outdoor spaces where children and young people are likely to gather.
It says an outright ban would be easier to implement than just a ban on smoking in cars carrying children.
Would help enforce existing ban
The college also says that such legislation would help enforce the existing ban on smoking in company cars, which are designated as part of the workplace.
The RCP estimates passive smoking generates 300,000 doctors' appointments and 9500 hospital admissions each year, costing the National Health Service 23.3 million.
Figures from research funded by Cancer Research UK estimates that passive smoking causes the following incidence of illness in children:
• Over 20,000 cases of lower respiratory tract infection
• 120,000 cases of middle ear disease
• At least 22,000 new cases of wheeze and asthma
• 200 cases of bacterial meningitis
• 40 sudden infant deaths
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