By Marc Kovac
Smokers would be banned from lighting up in cars with young children and would face hundreds of dollars in fines if they were caught doing so, under legislation being considered in the Ohio Senate.
Sen. Charleta Tavares offered Senate Bill 27 to protect youngsters from the effects of secondhand smoke.
“Individuals should have a right to decide when and where to smoke, as long as it does not put others in danger,” Tavares told the Senate’s Highways and Transportation Committee. “An infant or minor who is a passenger in a car is not making the decision to smoke. However, they can potentially suffer significant consequences.”
She added, “When adults do not put children first, we need legislation such as this to penalize those who are willing to put a child’s health in danger.”
Tavares offered sponsor testimony during the first hearing on the legislation Wednesday.
SB 27 would prohibit people from smoking in motor vehicles if children younger than age 6 are present.
Those caught smoking with young children in their vehicles would face a $500 fine for a first offense and $750 — $500 plus an additional $250 — for subsequent violations.
Several other states, including Louisiana, California and Maine, have implemented similar bans, Tavares said.