In light of the ongoing concerns over the health effects of passive smoking, especially for children, the state of Alabama is due to vote on a new bill that would make it illegal to smoke in cars where there are children present. If the proposed bill becomes law, it would mean that anyone found to be smoking tobacco products in a car with anyone under the age of 19 would be liable to pay a $100 fine. State Rep. Rolanda Hollis “We aren’t saying you can’t smoke, and we aren’t saying what to do with your body. We just want to look out more for the kids.”
This follows a number of states who already have similar laws to protect children, including California, Maine, Oregon and Virginia. Similar laws also exist in other countries across the world. The UK, Australia and Canada already have laws in place that prohibit adults from smoking in cars where there are minors, although the age that someone is considered a minor varies between different countries, and between different states in the US.
In recent years, there’s been a growing amount of evidence that children being exposed to second hand smoke can have a negative impact on their health, both in the short and long term. A recent study has shown that children whose parents smoked but tried to limit the exposure had nearly twice the risk of developing heart disease as an adult when compared with children whose parents didn’t smoke. It also showed that in parents who didn’t try to limit exposure, the risk was even higher and was nearly four times greater than than it was for the children of non smokers.
The impact of second hand smoke on children has been proven to be far greater than it is for other adults. The fact that they have weaker immune systems, smaller lungs and a faster rate of breathing makes them more susceptible to the chemicals found in cigarette smoke and it can greatly damage their health. In cars, the risk is elevated further due to being in a confined space. Figures show that 80% of these chemicals contain toxins that cause cancer, so it’s important that we protect children from these risks.