By the year 2019, it’s clear to most people that smoking and second-hand smoke causes adverse health conditions like lung cancer. However, smokers are still allowed to smoke in designated areas or the comfort of their homes. Today, Indiana is hoping to discourage people from smoking in their cars, joining with eight other states where similar laws are already on the books. If you smoke with young children in the car, you could face a four-figure fine.
A bipartisan pair of senators from Indiana have introduced legislation that could impose a fine on drivers of up to $10,000 if they smoke with young children under the age of six in their cars. Senator Eddie Melton (D) has joined with Senator Jim Merritt (R) to author Senate Bill 34, which would make smoking in a car with young kids a Class B infraction. If a smoker is caught a third time, the fine goes from $1,000 to $10,000 and becomes a Class A infraction.
The senators introduced the bill on January 3, 2019. Governor Eric Holcomb could sign the bill into law, and it would take effect by July.
If the proposed bill is signed by Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb, it would take effect in July. https://t.co/sbOGdQvW9F
— KFI AM 640 (@KFIAM640) January 21, 2019
Senator Jim Merritt told WTWO.
“We know that second-hand smoke is a killer and I wanted to follow through on it, it’s just I felt really, really bad for those kids,” said Merritt.
The senator realizes it would be hard to enforce the law, but hopes it would discourage putting children at risk for health conditions like bronchitis, pneumonia, and respiratory infections. Exposure to smoking at a young age can lead to a smoking habit, as most smokers started when they were children.
“The governments of it is difficult a lot like a seatbelt law, a lot like going a couple miles over the speed limit, texting and driving, I know it’s difficult to enforce,” Merritt continued.
Does the law go far enough, considering that drivers would be allowed to smoke with passengers over the age of six? Keep in mind, they will still be allowed to smoke at home as much as they like. Or do you think the law goes too far, even though the dangers of second-hand smoke are well-established?
According to ABC News, eight states and Puerto Rico have similar laws on the books.
- Arkansas, with a child under the age of 14
- California, with a child under the age of 18
- Louisiana, with a child under the age of 13
- Maine, with a child under the age of 16
- Oregon, with a child under the age of 18
- Puerto Rico, with a child under the age of 18
- Utah, with a child under the age of 16
- Vermont, with a child under the age of 9
- Virginia, with a child under the age of 8
Now, Senator Melton is also hoping to combat health issues posed by the invisible gas, radon. It’s one the leading causes of lung cancer for non-smokers. His bill would require schools to conduct testing for the dangerous gas.
Radon is one of the leading causes of lung cancer for non-smokers. My bill, SB 522, would require all schools to test for radon by July 2020 and then once every five years after that.This bill will ensure that these inspections are enforced. https://t.co/95wC9k8LcP pic.twitter.com/26joH2G1Sp
— Eddie Melton (@SenEddieMelton) January 17, 2019
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Featured image: Smoking hand in mirror by Palu via Wikimedia Commons