SEVERE WX: Winter Storm Warning - Winter Weather Advisory View Alerts
CLOSINGS: View Closings

Alabama could soon make it illegal for you to smoke in the car if a child is present

A bill that would ban smokers from lighting up in the car if there's a minor inside is one step closer to becoming la...

Posted: Feb. 1, 2018 7:12 PM
Updated: Feb. 1, 2018 7:12 PM

A bill that would ban smokers from lighting up in the car if there's a minor inside is one step closer to becoming law in Alabama.

The state House passed HB 26 41-30 this week. The Senate votes on it next.

Anyone caught breaking the law would be fined $100

Children are more susceptible to the harmful effects of tobacco smoke

It it becomes law, the bill will make it illegal to smoke a tobacco product if anyone under 19 is in the car, whether the vehicle is moving or parked. Anyone caught breaking the law will be fined $100.

"We aren't saying you can't smoke, and we aren't saying what to do with your body," state Rep. Rolanda Hollis said. "We just want to look out more for the kids."

The Democratic lawmaker, who introduced the bill, said she got the idea after her husband began smoking during a date night.

"If I can barely breathe, I'm sure children can barely breathe," she said.

She began thinking of her 17-year-old son and all the other children who don't have the same choice as an adult does. They can't simply get out of a car if they want to, she said.

Her husband, she said, doesn't smoke in the car anymore.

The effects of smoking on children

There's a growing body of evidence that children's exposure to smoke increases their risk of heart disease as an adult.

Researchers in a study published in the journal Circulation found that simply having a parent who smoked but tried to limit their child's exposure to their smoke increased a child's risk of heart disease as an adult by nearly twice that of a child whose parents didn't smoke at all.

For kids whose parents smoked in front of them and didn't really limit their exposure, their risk for heart disease was four times higher than for children of non-smokers.

Children are more susceptible to the harmful effects because their lungs are smaller, they breathe faster, and they have less-developed immune systems.

The British Lung Foundation says more than 80% of secondhand smoke contains cancer-causing toxins, which are more concentrated in the confines of a car.

States with similar laws

If the bill becomes law, Alabama will join several other states with similar laws. Among them are California, Maine, Oregon and Virginia. Puerto Rico has also passed a similar law. Each state has a different age range for a minor.

Similar laws also exist in many countries, including the UK, Australia and a number of jurisdictions in Canada.

Article Comments

Mason City
Overcast
wxIcon
Hi: 7° Lo: -4°
Feels Like: -13°
Albert Lea
Scattered Clouds
wxIcon
Hi: 5° Lo: -4°
Feels Like: -6°
Austin
Scattered Clouds
wxIcon
Hi: 7° Lo: -3°
Feels Like: -6°
Charles City
Overcast
10° wxIcon
Hi: 10° Lo: -2°
Feels Like: -8°
Rochester
Overcast
wxIcon
Hi: 8° Lo: -4°
Feels Like: -11°
Snow will end overnight but bitter cold moves in behind it.
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

SNOW SHOVEL PRECAUTIONS

Image

Highlights: Rochester Grizzlies vs. Alexandria Blizzard from Friday

Image

Snow plows hard at work

Image

Battling road conditions

Image

Homeless in the snow

Image

Start of 6pm news

Image

Residents Remove Snow Early

Image

Uptick in Robocalls Amid Shutdown

Image

Friday Evening Stormteam 3 Forecast

Image

Drivers brave the snow-covered roads

Community Events