Banning Smoking with Children in Car
The days of lighting up with kids in the car could be coming to an end after a state lawmaker proposes a bill to fine any one smoking in a vehicle with a passenger under the age of six.
According to experts with the American Lung Association, sitting in a smoke filled car is eleven times more dangerous than sitting in a smoke filled bar, especially for young children. Six-year-old Avereigh Bouno said, “I just try to get away from it and not get it, smell it or anything because it might get in my lungs.”
State representative John Hines introduced House Bill 377 as a way to protect Mississippi’s youth from second hand smoke. “Mississippi has a large number of children who have asthma so I just wanted to make sure that they have a fair chance at life,” said Hines.
The bill would fine anyone caught smoking in a vehicle with a passenger under the age of six. Resident Destinie Skinner said, “I actually think it should be set at 17 and below because it doesn’t really change anything from the ages six to seven.”
According to the law, anyone carrying, holding, or lighting a lighted pipe, cigar, cigarette, or any other lighted smoking equipment would receive a misdemeanor. Eight-year-old Aaden Kingseery said, “I think it’s a bad thing because the smoke can get in the back car seat and the kids can smell it. They literally can get infected and have to get sent to the hospital.”
Violators would also have to pay a $25 fine. Resident Shonte Gibson said, “That’s reasonable. It’s enough to where it’s not excessive, but yet enough to make somebody say ‘hey, maybe I can wait a few more minutes before I smoke this cigarette.’”
However, others feel the fine should be more expensive. Resident Taylor Moffatt said, “I don’t think you should smoke in the car with a child ever, a teenager even. Until they can make the choice themselves if they want to smoke, you shouldn’t do it.”
If Mississippi lawmakers pass House Bill 377 it would take effect as soon as July 1st.