Heavy-smoking West Virginia becomes 12th state to ban lights in cars with children present


Charleston, W.Va. (AP) – West Virginia, which has the highest rates of adult cigarette use in the country, became the 12th state to ban smoking in vehicles with children under a bill signed Friday by Republican Gov. Jim Justice. ,

But violators can only be fined up to $25 if they are caught for another offense. Smoking with children cannot be the main reason for stopping a driver.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 22% of West Virginia adults smoked in 2021, the latest year available. The CDC says there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke.

The justices did not comment on the bill, which was one of 15 he signed on Friday. West Virginia’s 60-day legislative session ended on March 9.

The bill originated in the Republican-dominated state Senate, whose majority leader, Tom Takubo, is a lung doctor. Takubo has said that he had long ago promised a patient whose father was a heavy smoker that he would try to get such a law passed. Takubo has made almost annual efforts to introduce legislation since 2017.

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“The next step is your home. The next step could be your business. Where are we taking this?” Hardy said. “This is the most un-Republican bill I have ever seen in my life.”

Republican Del. Dana Ferrell said sometimes the government has to intervene to protect the safety and well-being of children.

Ferrell said that when he and his siblings were young, his parents smoked in the car. He recalled children trying to hide in the back seat near the floor in an attempt to save their faces.

“This may seem strange to some people, but I have been there. I’ve experienced it,” Ferrell said. “It’s a terrible situation that I wouldn’t wish on any other child.”

The GOP-led House later gave final approval to the legislation without debate.

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