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House of Representatives
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: March 19, 2015 12:51 PM
From: Representative Peter J. Daley
To: All House members
Subject: Protecting Children from Secondhand Smoke
In the near future, I intend to reintroduce legislation (HB 1613) amending Title 75 to make it a secondary offense to smoke in a vehicle in which young children are being transported.

It is a well-established fact that secondhand smoke has serious consequences for children including sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), acute lower respiratory infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia and is known to exacerbate more frequent and severe attacks in asthmatic children. Children exposed to secondhand smoke also are at increased risk for ear infections and are more likely to need an operation to insert ear tubes for drainage.

According to the Surgeon General, Secondhand smoke contains more than 250 chemicals known to be carcinogenic, including formaldehyde, benzene, vinyl chloride, arsenic, ammonia, and hydrogen cyanide. Children who are exposed to secondhand smoke are inhaling many of the same cancer-causing substances and poisons as smokers, albeit involuntarily. It stands to reason then that net effect of smoking inside the confines of a vehicle would compound the problem exponentially.

For these reasons and others, I intend to make it a summary offense to smoke in the presence of a child required to be in a child safety seat (those under the age of 8 or less than 80 pounds). Using this criterion makes the new provision easier to enforce. Additionally, this will be a secondary offense, applicable only to those who have been issued a citation for a separate vehicular or traffic violation. The first offense may result in a warning being issued or a fine of up to $100. Any subsequent conviction would result in a fine of no less than $250.

Please join me in helping to promote a healthy, smoke-free environment for the children of the Commonwealth.

Introduced as HB1073