A bill that could stop Alabamians from smoking with children in the car has been pre-filed with the state House.
Birmingham-Democrat state Rep. Rolanda Hollis pre-filed HB26, which would make it illegal to smoke a tobacco product in a motor vehicle — whether in motion or at 24 rest — when anyone under 18 is also present. The penalty for violating the law would be a $100 fine.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), secondhand smoke kills over 38,000 Americans each year. Children exposed to secondhand smoke are at an increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), acute respiratory infections, ear problems, severe asthma, and reduced lung function.
Should Alabama pass Hollis’ bill, it would become the ninth state, along with Guam and Puerto Rico, to have laws on the book that prohibit smoking in the car with children. According to the Public Health Law Center, as of June 2017, here are the current statewide smoking bans:
- Arkansas: Up to $25; may be eliminated if violator enters a cessation program
- California: Up to $100
- Louisiana: $150 or a minimum of 24 hours of community service
- Maine: 1st year after enactment, written warning; thereafter, $50 fine or warning
- Oregon: 1st offense, $250; subsequent violations, $500
- Utah: Maximum fine of $45; may be suspended if violator has no prior convictions and enrolls in cessation program
- Vermont: Maximum fine of $100
- Virginia: Subject to fine of $100
If passed, Hollis’ bill would go into effect on the first day of the third month following its approval by Gov. Kay Ivey.