On Tuesday, the Alabama House passed a bill that aims to stop adults from smoking tobacco products in a motor vehicle while any minors are present. Birmingham-Democrat State Rep. Rolonda Hollis filed HB26 in an effort to protect minors who cannot protect themselves from harmful tobacco products.
“We aren’t saying you can’t smoke, and we aren’t saying what to do with your body,” Hollis told AL.com. “We just want to look out more for the kids.”
Hollis was inspired on a date night with her husband, he lit a cigarette in the car while they were out and Hollis said she could hardly breathe.
“If I can barely breathe, I’m sure children can barely breathe,” said Hollis.
Violators would receive a $100 fine for every offense.
According to the American Lung Association 41,000 people in the U.S. die every year from second-hand smoke, and children who are exposed to it are at risk for heart disease, lung disease, and lung cancer. Secondhand smoke is also a known cause of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and children are more likely to have lung problems, ear infections and worse asthma from being exposed to it.
If the bill passes through the senate, Alabama would be one of only nine states to enact a smoking ban with children in the car. According to the American Nonsmokers Rights’ Foundation these are the current smoking bans in the U.S.:
|Arkansas||Persons < than age 6 and under 60 pounds in a child safety seat. Effective 07/21/2006
Persons < age 14. Effective 07/27/2011
|California||Persons < age 18|
|Louisiana||Persons < age 13|
|Maine||Persons < age 16|
|Oregon||Persons < age 18. The Legislature enacted SB444, which prohibits smoking in any motor vehicle in which a child under age 18 is a passenger. Enacted 6/11/2013 as Chapter 361 2013 Laws.|
|Puerto Rico||Persons < age 18|
|Utah||Persons < age 16|
|Vermont||Persons aged 8 and under|
|Virginia||Persons < age 8|