September 12, 2008 - The State of Maine on Monday, September 1, 2008 made it illegal to smoke in a car while children are present. Maine's law authorizes police to hand out only warnings until Sept. 1, 2009, but after that violators can get $50 fines. In March 2008 the Maine House of Representatives voted by a 2-1 margin when riding with children under age 16. The cutoff age for the bill was lowered from 18 to 16 to garner enough legislative support for passage in the House. Bill to ban smoking in cars with children enacted in the State of Maine.. Bangor, Maine is believed to be the first city to outlaw smoking in cars with children.
Rep. Brian Duprey, R-Hampden, said he ordinarily would oppose legislation he sees as government interference in people's privacy. But Duprey, who runs a child care business, said he was moved to act after seeing tots arrive at his facilities smelling of tobacco and often sick. The developing lungs of young children are severely affected by exposure to secondhand smoke, the EPA says. Children receiving high doses of secondhand smoke like found in cars, run the greatest risk of damaging health effects. Vehicles Most Dangerous Space for Second-Hand Smoke Levels..
Banning smoking when children are in the car is a no-brainer - even Philip Morris agrees. David Sutton, a spokesman for Philip Morris USA said the company believes the public "should be guided by the conclusions of public health officials regarding the health effects of secondhand smoke" and "particular care should be exercised where children are concerned."
Reference: Car-smoking law kicks in, SunJournal.com, 9/1/2008.
California, Arkansas and Louisiana have passed similar laws (California became the 3rd state. Arkansas now bans smoking in cars with children age 6 and younger, while Louisiana has limited the ban when children 13 and younger are in the vehicle.), as have Puerto Rico. Arkansas claims to be the first jurisdiction in the world to ban smoking in vehicles carrying kids.
Canada: - enacted or proposed: Ontario, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, British Columbia, Yukon and Okotoks, Alberta.
Australia - enacted or proposed: South Australia, Tasmania, New South Wales and Victoria.
SUMMARY: Laws Banning Smoking in Vehicles Carrying Children – International Overview
Canadian Cancer Society, August 19, 2008.