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Butt Out: New York Bans Smoking In Cars When Kids Are Present

cigarettes, taken by Flickr user Schnella Schnyder

cigarettes, taken by Flickr user Schnella Schnyder

Secondhand smoke kills – so it should come as no surprise that lawmakers would introduce a bill to ban smoking in cars where children are present.

In fact, a New York lawmaker, Assemblyman David Weprin, has done just that. In the proposed New York legislation, the smoking ban would apply to adults with children under the age of 14 in the car. It also applies even when the windows are rolled down. Reportedly, the bill’s current language calls for a fine of up to $100 for violators.

Other areas in New York have passed (Rockland County) or are considering (Nassau County) bills banning smoking in cars with any passengers under the age of 18.

Four other states already have a similar law on the books: Arkansas, California, Louisiana and Maine. In Arkansas, which already had a 2006 law banning smoking in the car if a child in a car seat is a passenger, “tweaked” the law in April of this year to prohibit smoking in the vehicle with children under 14 present.

Louisiana prohibits smoking in vehicles with children aged 12 and under – and it’s considered a moving violation. The law went into effect in Aug. 2006 and violators are assessed a minimum of 24 hours of community service and maximum fines up to $150.

California’s law went into effect Jan. 1, 2008 and was prompted, in part, by a 2006 Harvard School of Public Health report that said that secondhand smoke in cars can be up to 10 times more of a health risk than secondhand smoke in homes. In California’s law, smoking in a car with children under 18 is a secondary offense, meaning the motorist cannot be stopped by police just for violating the law. He or she could only be charged if stopped for some other moving violation. The fine for the smoking violation is up to $100.

Maine’s law went into effect in Sept. 2008 and bans smoking in any car when children under 16 are present. A driver may not be pulled over just for smoking but if caught in a moving violation can face a fine of $50.

[Associated Press via Fox News]


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Comments (11)
  1. Look up the symptoms of withdrawal from smoking...some being irritability and anger (road rage), inattention, dizziness, digestive problems, sleepiness, etc., and decide if you want anyone going Cold Turkey near you on the highway.
    If it's a "crime to smoke" near kids...what about the crime of secretly adulterating so-called "tobacco products" with some of the most health-damaging industrial substance on the planet?...many of them being especially harmful to children, mothers and fetuses?
    It seems like more people personally don't like smoke, but have no trouble at all with corporate crimes that endanger, experiment upon, and kill millions. And they have no problem with corporate lies about cigarettes being automatically tobacco.

  2. @ jj - You make some very valid points and what you say may cause others to re-think their ideas about smoking and who makes the products. All in all, smoking is probably not the best lifestyle choice a person can make -- not for themselves and certainly not for others around them. Thanks for your comments.

  3. America has officially run out of problems.

  4. I think not only in the New York but this law should be applied to all over the world for the healthy future of the children.

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  5. smoking was for a long time part of our culture. Ashtrays on planes. Cigarette lighters in cars. We are moving away from it, thankfully. Smoking should not be allowed near children anywhere - schools - parks - outdoor spaces - sidewalks - why should *I* have to suffer someone else's choices ? Why should my kids see people smoking in public places ? Why should they ever breathe the poisons someone else chooses to put in their body ? The less they see it, the less likely they are to make the choice for themselves some day. It's a filthy habit - we get all up in arms about lead in toys from China, then poison our kids' air with cigarette smoke. I hope the law passes!

  6. Ummm, how are they going to enforce this one? It all looks great on paper, but backing that up in the real world...doesn't seem like there is a way to do this. Reminds me of the no talking on you cell phone while driving. Sure its against the law to chat/text while behind the wheel, but I still see that happening everyday and sometimes even by police officers themselves! Good luck with this one, hopefully it works out.

  7. I grew up in a time were every single adult I knew smoked. Parents, grand parents, doctor , extra... I am 48 years old , still alive and kicking. The only thing that is hurting American's these days are insensitive rude people who want to tell everyone else how to live.

  8. i'm sorry but this is bull, i have been a smoker for almost 13 years and you can not tell me what i can and can not do in my car that i payed for that i own and that i pay insurence, redgistration, title fee, and all these other nonsence money wasters that the state makes us pay, i can smoke in my house i can smoke in my car. i get not at school or parks or other busy areas but my car is my car and i make my choices. it doesnt hurt any one second hand smoke is a myth if it really happened then why is it that you can be around people smoking pot and not have it produce a possative drug test result... second hand smoke is something the government came up with to control even more asspects in our lives. they are trying to take over everything!

  9. why are you trying to band us from smoking in are cars but you are not stoping all the people that are drinking. that kills more last time I now it was a free country what is next we cant smoke in are house or on are property why are you adveretising beer and that kills but you stop the smoking adds and you jack the pricer of cags and y are you letting a beer go into a mall that is for kids and familys to go and hangout

  10. Tell ya what, when NY starts paying for my van and my insurance they can tell me what do inside my vehicle, until them screw you!

  11. I am a smoker myself and I think this is a good law to pass! I DO NOT and WILL NOT smoke in the car or a house with a child! I think it is absolutely disgusting that anyone thinks it is ok to! You are probably the same people who think it is perfectly fine for a pregnant mother to smoke, DISGUSTING! They are not banning you from smoking in your vehicle, they are making it so children do not have to be forced to deal with something that is harmful to them! I see no harm in having to pull over and get out of your car to smoke when you have a child present in the vehicle.

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