New Law Prevents Smoking in Cars with Minors

Madison Horvat, News Editor

Recently, a new law has been passed for 2019 that prohibits adults from smoking in cars with minors. The penalty for doing so is a first time $100 fine, and a second time fine of $250. This new rule was signed into law on August the 23rd for Illinois, and it took effect immediately.
The law isn’t as simple as just fining every person who violates the law, though. According to Journalstar, “Law enforcement officers are not allowed to issue tickets solely for violating the law, but they can issue tickets if they pull a vehicle over for some other violation. The law also does not apply if the person smoking is a minor who is the sole occupant of the vehicle.”
Smoking in cars has not been a present day issue, though there are concerns that come with smoking in vehicles, and with smoking in vehicles while minors are present. The act of looking for and then lighting a cigarette can distract the driver, which could be one reason as to why this law was passed. This law may also have been passed to protect minors from second-hand smoke, which has larger concentrations of carcinogens (cancer causing agents), and is almost as dangerous as first-hand smoke. A less common concern is that smoking in cars could also possibly cause wildfires. If someone smoking were to throw their cigarette out of the window, it could cause a bushfire.
Illinois isn’t the first state to pass this law. The law has been present in multiple other states since 2018. Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Maine, Oregon, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, and Massachusetts have been testing this new law since at least June of 2018, and now Illinois is passing the law as well. These other states, though, had some minors able to be in cars with adults smoking. Vermont and Virginia both allowed minors to be in cars with adults smoking, as long as they were over the age of 8.
Other countries also have laws regarding smoking in cars with minors, such as Australia, where an offender of the policy could face a first time fine of AUD $250, or $170 USD. Court fines in Australia could even go as high as AUD $5500, or $3765 USD.