Will Maryland ban smoking in cars when small children present..

March 12, 2009 - A similar bill last year was voted down in committee. Montgomery County Senator Mike Lenett is sponsoring a measure that would fine people who smoke in the car while driving children under the age of eight. Drivers would also be fined if they allow another passenger to smoke in the car while in the presence of children under the age of eight. Lenett's bill sets a $50 fine for violation.

Senator Lenet cites studies by the Surgeon General and the Harvard School of Public Health that exposure to cigarettes in the confined space of a car is 12 times the hazardous level set for children by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Senator Lenet: "I will tell you one thing, parents have no idea of the damage and the harm they're causing to their children by smoking in the car. If you're in a car and you light up a cigarette, you're as good as sharing that cigarette with your three-year-old, strapped in a car seat." Kids exposed to smoke are at higher risk since they breath in more air by weight than adults. Both the respiratory rate and heart rate are higher in children below the age of 13 than adults. Children breathe in a greater amount of air per body weight compared to adults. The younger the child, the greater the potential for exposure. - tobaccowatch.org One child under five years of age, dies every 18 days, when exposed to cigarette smoke.

In the United StatesMaine, California, Arkansas and Louisiana have passed similar laws, as has Puerto Rico.

Seven senators have agreed to co-sponsor the legislation. A legislative panel will hear testimony on the measure Tuesday afternoon (3/17/2009). A Senate committee killed similar legislation in 2007.

Banning smoking when children are in the home or car is a no-brainer - even Philip Morris agrees.

Toxic chemicals in cigarette smoke..

Reference: Md. Lawmakers Want To Ban Smoking In Cars, wjz.com - Baltimore, 3/10/2009.

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