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The Informed Parent

Smoke-Free Cars With Minors Law

by Shanna R. Cox, M.D., F.A.A.P.
Published on Apr. 28, 2008

California has long been a leader in reducing the public exposure to secondhand smoking risks. A new law entitled “Smoke-free Cars with Minors” prohibits smoking in a car when a child under seventeen years is present. This law was authored by Senator Jenny Oropeza of Long Beach in an attempt to further protect children from the risks of secondhand smoke.

 The following is an excerpt from the California Department of Public Health:

“Infants and children are especially susceptible to the harmful effects of secondhand smoke,” said Dr. Mark Horton, Director of the California Department of Public Health.

“Smoking in a car or any confined space increases the level of pollution inhaled by children and adults, thereby increasing the likelihood of suffering from the negative health effects of secondhand smoke.”

Studies of secondhand smoke exposure have shown that levels of secondhand smoke caused by one person smoking in a car can make the air inside the vehicle up to 10 times more toxic than the level the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says is hazardous for breathing.

Evidence suggests that children are especially vulnerable to the health effects caused by secondhand smoke. Exposure to secondhand smoke by children increases the risk of asthma attacks, ear infections, bronchitis and pneumonia. Long-term exposure also has been linked to heart disease and lung cancer in adults. 

The law went into effect January 1, 2008 and, if violated, is punishable by a fine of one hundred dollars. Share this information with friends, family and community members as we all strive to provide children with a healthier environment in which to grow. More information can be found on this la

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