THE recent ban on smoking in cars with children has received backing from the majority of Scottish smokers, a poll suggests.

Anti-smoking charity, Action on Smoking Health (ASH) Scotland, said that the YouGov survey showed recent legislation and initiatives around smoking and public health were proving “popular” with smokers and non-smokers alike. The survey, which was released by ASH Scotland today, was carried out online, with a total sample size of 1,088 adults in Scotland. It found 91 per cent of smokers supported the ban on smoking in cars with children present.

This was even higher than the 88 per cent of non-smokers who also supported the ban.

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The legislation, which came into effect at the end of last year, aims to protect young people from the harm caused by second-hand smoke. The first smoking-related ban in Scotland was introduced 11 years ago and prohibited smoking in enclosed public spaces.

Since then there have also been related restrictions to tobacco advertising and sales and a ban on smoking on hospital grounds.

The YouGov survey also suggested the public was generally supportive of the ban on tobacco displays in shops, with 70 per cent of adults in favour – and 42 per cent of smokers. Only 9 per cent of adults, and 24 per cent of smokers, were against the measure.

There was also a high proportion of public support for further action on tobacco and health, with 87 per cent of Scottish adults (including 85 per cent of smokers) supporting increased penalties for selling tobacco to children.

And some 74 per cent of adults, and 62 per cent of smokers, would support a scheme whereby businesses must have a licence before they can sell tobacco.

Sheila Duffy, chief executive of ASH Scotland, said: “When asked about specific government actions to tackle smoking, both smokers and non-smokers tend to indicate support. This should encourage politicians that action to reduce the harm and inequality caused by smoking isn’t just effective, it is popular too.”

The question of support for plain packaging for tobacco products, however, yielded a more divided result – with 60 per cent of adults supporting the measure and 11 per cent opposing it, compared with 30 per cent of smokers supporting it, and 35 per cent in opposition.

Simon Clark, director of the smokers’ rights group Forest, however, said that the results of other polls in the UK in the last 18 months suggested the public does not believe tackling smoking is a priority for government.

He said: “Tobacco control measures have to be evidence based and so far there is no evidence that any of these policies have had an impact on smoking rates.”

Public Health Minister Aileen Campbell welcomed the findings, saying they showed “the strong support from the public for the wide-ranging action we have taken to address smoking”.

She added: “We are committed to protecting children from the harmful effects of second-hand smoke, and our target to half the proportion of children exposed in the home to six per cent by 2020 was met five years early.”