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Few States Ban Smoking In Cars With Kids Inside; Will Florida Be Added To That List?

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MGN Online

Most states in the nation have some type of smoking ban on the books, but only a few states prohibit smoking in cars with kids present. One lawmaker hopes to add Florida to that list.

Jacksonville Republican Representative Charles McBurney has filed a bill that would prohibit smoking in any car or truck if there’s a child in the vehicle. If the bill became law, smoking with a child in the car would be classified as a nonmoving violation. And, like texting and driving in Florida, it would be a secondary offense, meaning a driver would have to be pulled over for doing something else.

“It’s not designed to be punitive or punishment. The main purpose is to 1) decrease the exposure to children for secondhand smoke and 2) to educate adults on the dangers of secondhand smoke to children in automobiles. I’m hopeful that this legislation will do the trick,” said McBurney.

Pointing to some statistics, McBurney says he hopes the Florida Legislature will be on board with the idea because he wants to protect kids, who have no choice but to sit in a smoke-filled car with an adult.

“Among very young children 18 months or younger, secondhand smoke is responsible for estimated 150 to 300,000 new cases of bronchitis and pneumonia and 7,500 to 15,000 hospitalizations a year. The EPA has estimated that 200,000 to 1 million children with asthma have had their condition worsen due to exposure to secondhand smoke,” added McBurney.

The bill currently has no Senate sponsor, but McBurney says he’s got some lawmakers lined up. Meanwhile, this isn’t the first smoking ban-related bill proposed this year. In fact, a measure to stop minors from purchasing electronic cigarettes cleared its first Senate committee early this month. Florida also already has a smoking ban in place in enclosed indoor workplaces with some exceptions.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on twitter @SaschaCordner.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.