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Lawmaker Wants Ban On Smoking In Cars With Kids

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A woman lights up. (file/AFP Getty Images)

A woman lights up. (file/AFP Getty Images)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – An Illinois state senator wants to ban adults from smoking in cars when children are present.

WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports Sen. Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago) argued there is no safe level of second-hand smoke for a minor to be inhaling, so he’s introduced legislation to prohibit smoking in a vehicle if anyone under the age of 18 is inside.

“This protects children from prolonged enclosed exposure to smoke in a less-ventilated setting,” he said. “I analogize it similar to seat belts.”

Kathy Drea, vice president of the American Lung Association in Illinois, said the smoke-filled interior of a car is worse than the inside of a smoky bar or restaurant, “because it’s just such a small, confined space.”

Drea said it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to ban smoking inside a car with children inside, as state law already prohibits other behaviors while driving – such as talking or texting on your phone.

“You can’t carry open alcohol in a car. You have to have seat belts on. You have to have car seats (for kids),” she added.

Police officers would not be allowed to pull over a vehicle simply because of a violation of the ban, but could write a $100 ticket if the car is pulled over for another offense.

The measure was discussed in a Senate committee in Springfield on Tuesday, but senators did not vote, as more testimony is planned later.

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