Wednesday 9 March is No Smoking Day in the UK and One More Second is taking the opportunity to support the public health message and also highlight the dangers of smoking at the wheel.

The annual campaign is run by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and encourages hundreds of thousands of smokers to make a quit attempt on No Smoking Day.

Dr Mike Knapton, associate medical director at the BHF, said: “Giving up smoking is the single best thing you can do for your health, and that’s why the British Heart Foundation runs No Smoking Day. We’re encouraging smokers to mark Wednesday 9 March in their calendars, and take the first step towards a smoke-free life.”

As well as encouraging smokers to quit for the benefit of their health, One More Second is highlighting the safety benefits of avoiding smoking in vehicles.

Various studies have been carried out that have found smoking while driving to increase crash risk.

There are a number of reasons why smoking in vehicles is dangerous. Firstly, simply locating and lighting a cigarette is a mental and physical distraction. Once a cigarette is lit, smoke inside the vehicle can impair a driver’s vision and there is the risk of a lit cigarette falling onto the driver’s lap or into the foot well – potentially causing a severe distraction.

Laws and guidance

  • The Highway Code (Rule 148) states that safe driving and riding needs concentration and specifically advises to avoid distractions such as smoking.
  • Under UK law, smoking is not allowed in any work vehicle that more than one person uses.
  • In England and Wales it is illegal to smoke or allow anyone to smoke in a vehicle carrying someone under 18.