California outlaws smoking in cars with kids

A bill signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will protect children in cars from secondhand smoke. SB 7, authored by Sen. Jenny Oropeza, would fine drivers $100 if they are pulled over for another offense and are then caught smoking while a minor is in the car. California is the third state to limit smoking in cars with children, although it is the only one to extend the ban to protect children up to age 17. Louisiana bans smoking in cars when children under age 14 are in the vehicle and Arkansas bans it when children under age seven are in the vehicle. According to Sen. Oropeza’s press release, health experts testified that “second-hand smoke in a car can be up to 10 times more dangerous than in a home.” For information on a related topic, see CPA’s Smoke-Free Workplaces policy brief and model legislation. [AP]