BARNSLEY Council has welcomed new laws that will make it illegal to smoke in private vehicles carrying under 18s.

The new rules, which comes into force on October 1, means that people who fail to comply could be issued with a £50 fixed penalty notice.

Coun Jim Andrews, cabinet spokesperson for public health and chair of the Barnsley Smoke-Free Tobacco Control Alliance, said: "We welcome the new laws which help to protect our youngest residents from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke.

"Second-hand smoke is particularly harmful to children as they breathe more rapidly and have less developed airways.

"In England, children being exposed to smoke results in more than 300,000 GP consultations and 9,500 hospital admissions every year."

The government estimates that three million children in England are exposed to second-hand smoke in their family car, which puts them at risk of serious conditions including respiratory infections and meningitis and could trigger asthma.