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FILE - In this Saturday, March 2, file 2013 photo, a woman smokes a cigarette while sitting in her truck in Hayneville, Ala. The federal health care law requires insurers to accept all applicants regardless of pre-existing medical problems. But it also allows them to charge smokers premiums that are up to 50 percent higher than those offered non-smokers - a way for insurers to ward off bad risks. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

An Alabama lawmaker wants to ban smoking in vehicles with minor passengers



Alabama state Rep. Rolanda Hollis (D-Birmingham) has proposed a bill to ban smoking in vehicles with minors inside them, according to WBRC.

WBRC on Wednesday reported that Hollis’ prefiled bill in the Alabama legislature calls for a $100 fine if anyone smokes in a vehicle with a person 18 years old or younger present.

Hollis, who is sensitive to smoking, said she realized the issue is a problem upon getting into her husband’s truck.

“I got up in his truck and I couldn’t breather and I said, ‘There should be a law against this, smoking inside a vehicle,’” she said.

“We know secondhand smoke, especially in a car which is a small, compact place, can cause asthma,” Hollis continued. “Not just asthma, it can cause chronic disease.”

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“If you care about children and you care about [the] health and safety of our children, I think it’s a good bill.”

AL.com on Monday reported that Hollis prefiled Alabama House Bill 26 ahead of the 2018 regular legislative session, which begins Jan. 9.

The bill would make it illegal to smoke cigars, cigarettes, pipes or other tobacco products in a vehicle with any passenger who is a minor.

The measure would impose up to $100 fines upon offenders, and it would also make Alabama the latest state with such a rule on the books should it pass.

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Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Oregon, Maine, Vermont, Virginia and Utah have all outlawed smoking in vehicles containing children.

The penalties range from $25 in Arkansas to $250 for a first-time offense in Oregon, and the practice is also forbidden in Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory.

“Secondhand smoke in cars can be especially harmful to children because cars are small, confined spaces where children are closer to the smoker and the smoke,” according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) website.

“When a child’s lungs are still developing, they can be easily damaged by exposure to the high level of secondhand smoke in a car,” the website adds.

“Even though many smokers choose to open a window or increase the ventilation, the child passenger is still not fully protected. Secondhand smoke lingers long after the smoking stops.”

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