Should smoking in cars with kids be banned?

Posted at 9:05 AM, Jan 14, 2013
and last updated 2013-01-14 12:17:39-05

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - A state lawmaker has proposed a bill that would make it against the law to smoke in a vehicle when there is a child under the age of 13 inside.

Virginia State Del. Joe Morrissey (D - Henrico) said House Bill 1366, like laws that require car seats, is designed to protect children.

"The reason that we are prohibiting smoking in the car with a young child is to protect the child," Del. Morrissey said. "There's no difference in what we've done before. For those parents who are knowledgeable and aware, they would never smoke when they have an infant or small child in the car."

Drivers pulled over while smoking with a child in the car would face a $100 fine. Smoking with a child in the car would be a secondary offense, meaning police would not be allowed to pull over a driver just for smoking.

A 2012 survey published in the Journal of Pediatrics found while the number of children exposed to second-hand smoke in cars has gone down, it does remain a problem that states should combat with new laws.

Del. Morrissey also proposed a bill this session that would make it a crime to litter with cigarette butts.