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Maryland Senate Debates Bill to Outlaw Smoking in Cars with Children

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The Maryland Senate is debating a bill that would ban smoking in vehicles with passengers who are younger than 8.

On Friday, legislators amended the bill to change the age at which a child cannot be exposed to smoking in a car to 16 and younger, but the amendment was overturned. Supporters of the bill said that while breathing in secondhand smoke is harmful to children of all ages, the law would be easier to enforce if it focused on young children, according to the Associated Press. Police officers will know if a child is under 8, because until that age, children must ride in car seats, the article notes.

According to Action on Smoking and Health, at least five U.S. states—Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Maine and Oregon—have banned smoking in cars when children are present.

More than one-fifth of middle and high school students were exposed to secondhand smoke in cars in 2009, according to a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This represents a significant decrease from 2000, when 40 percent of teens were exposed to cigarette smoke in cars.

1 Response to this article

  1. Avatar of Benny
    Benny / March 13, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    It’s about time we protected children from SHS in cars. Something is wrong when you can’t smoke around a bartender, but you can a baby, child, or teen held captive in a small space. They are forced to smoke and are not even of legal age to do so.
    Hopefully they will include up to age 18 to reduce not only the health risks , but also to decrease the risk of the children becoming addicted to nicotine themselves from inhaling it as passive smokers.

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