SMOKING in cars carrying children could become illegal if a vote in the House of Lords is passed.

The plan will go before peers today as Labour proposes an amendment to the Children and Families Bill, the BBC said.

Labour wants to see a specific offence created to discourage people from smoking around children.

The amendment would make it an offence for drivers of private vehicles to fail to prevent smoking when a child is present.

Smoking was banned in workplaces and many enclosed public spaces in England in 2007.

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham says Britain should follow the example set by countries like Australia, Canada and a number of American states.

He told Sky News: "When it comes to improving the health of children, we are duty bound to consider any measure that might make a difference.

"Adults are free to make their own choices but that often does not apply to children and that's why society has an obligation to protect them from preventable harm.

"Evidence from other countries shows that stopping smoking in the confined space of a car carrying children can prevent damage to their health and has strong public support."