November 11, 2015

Bans on Smoking in Vehicles Carrying Children

OLR Report 2015-R-0203 describes laws in the seven states that have enacted legislation banning smoking in vehicles with children present. These states include Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Maine, Oregon, Utah, and Vermont; the report also describes Puerto Rico’s law. The age of children covered by these laws varies from under age eight (Vermont) to under age 18 (California and Oregon).  Maximum fines for first-time violations range from $25 (Arkansas) to $250 (Oregon and Puerto Rico). 

According to the advocacy group Global Advisors on Smokefree Policy, legislation banning or otherwise addressing smoking in cars with children was proposed in 12 states in 2015, including Connecticut. In addition, the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, a division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reports that eight states and the District of Columbia restrict smoking in vehicles carrying children in the care of childcare facilities. 

Exposure to second-hand smoke "is associated with acute respiratory infections, middle ear disease, delayed lung growth, and more severe asthma," a 2012 Pediatrics study noted. "Nonsmoking youth are . . . particularly vulnerable" to second-hand smoke because of their "limited ability to avoid smoke-permitted environments, higher breathing rates, and the developing nature of their respiratory, immune, and nervous systems." 

For more information, read the full report here.