PLANS to ban smoking in cars carrying children have been welcomed by the county council.

MPs voted in favour by almost two thirds to one to amend the Children and Families Bill, which could lead to a ban.

Health experts at Lancashire County Council said it would encourage residents across the county to give up smoking in homes as well as vehicles.

Cabinet member for health and wellbeing, Coun Azhar Ali, said: “The vote is a huge step forward in the battle against second-hand smoke. Treating illnesses caused by second-hand smoke in Lancashire costs the taxpayer £15.67m a year.

“The smoke is much more concentrated in cars and research has shown that opening the window to let out the fumes makes little difference.

“Children are especially at risk because they have smaller blood vessels and their organs are still developing. They breathe faster and inhale more toxic chemicals than adults.”