Smokers who light up in vehicles with children inside will face fines in England and Wales as anti-smoking measures are expanded to protect young people from the dangers of second-hand smoke.
The ban went into effect yesterday but police are not expected to issue a rash of fines as the public becomes accustomed to the regulation.
The National Police Chiefs' Council said in a statement that police would take an "educational, advisory and non-confrontational approach" for at least the first three months of the ban.
"This would see people being given warnings rather than being issued with fines," police said.
Smoking advocates called the new law unenforceable, but health officials and anti-smoking groups hailed the measure as the most important since a general ban on smoking in workplaces and enclosed public spaces took effect in England in 2007.
The law was adopted on the heels of an experiment that showed second-hand smoke in a car reached levels 100 times above safety guidelines.
There is a similar proposal in Massachusetts. The "Little Lungs" bill would make it a violation to smoke a cigarette while a child is in the car with you. If a child still uses a car seat, the "Little Lungs" bill would prohibit passengers from smoking in the vehicle. Violators would be subject to a $100 fine.
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