Florida legislators consider ban on smoking in car with kids

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.- Smoking in cars with a child inside may soon become illegal.

This week, the anti-smoking bill was approved 5 to 1 in the state Senate’s health policy committee. It’s not expected to become law anytime soon, but the conversation as to where you can, and can’t, light up has already started.

“If you’re an adult and you get in the car with somebody who is smoking, you have a choice to get out of that car. Kids don’t have a choice,” said Sen. Jeff Clemens.

Clemens is one of the sponsors of the bill. He says the idea came from high school students.

If it becomes a law, drivers smoking with kids in their cars could face a $30 fine.

“Children breathe more rapidly, more deeply,” said Diane Ramseyer, the executive director for Drug Free Charlotte County.

She says children are at a higher risk of becoming ill from secondhand smoke than adults.

“They actually take in more particles, than what even an adult would take,” said Ramseyer.

Ramseyer says that the chemicals linger long after smokers put out their cigarettes.

“Even if you’re not smoking it in that moment, those particles still can remain,” said Ramseyer. Making children more likely to become ill with asthma, decreased respiratory functions, even tooth decay.

Senator Clemens says the bill may not pass this year, but he’s glad the idea has started a conversation.

“These are people who can’t protect themselves, can’t get away from this hazardous material, the smoke that hazardous to their health,” said Clemens.

It’s still unsure if the bill will be a primary offense, meaning an officer could pull over someone if they are seen smoking with a child in the car.

The bill still has a number of committees to go through. Count on WINK News to follow its progress through the legislature.