Cars with child passengers should be a smoke-free zone, says public health minister Anna Soubry.
The Broxtowe MP justified this on the grounds of “child welfare”.
The idea had previously been put forward by several health groups, including the British Medical Association and Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, but was rejected by the government.
David Cameron is said to be “nervous” about calling for a car smoking ban, despite supporting bans in pubs and clubs.
Anna Soubry, the acting Parliamentary Under-Secretary of Health, said: “I would ban smoking in cars where children are present.
“I think it is something we should at least consider as government.”
Ms. Soubry has made it clear that these opinions are her own and not that of the current government.
A former smoker herself, Soubry is often characterised for being very outspoken.
While there does not seem to be any plans to implement this law the government has encouraged people not to smoke around children in the past.
More than one in five smokers are likely to light-up in front of children, according to a Department of Health survey last year.
Children are more vulnerable to second-hand smoke due to less developed lungs, airways and immune system, as well as a higher breathing rate.
Asthma, respiratory illness and meningitis have been attributed to second-hand smoke in the past.
Martin Dockrell of the campaign group Action on Smoking and Health said: “The minister can count on our support.
“A ban on smoking in cars is the right thing to do.”
Similar bans have been implemented around the world, including Canada, USA, Australia and South Africa.
By Daniel Walker