TITLE OF BILL:
the vehicle and traffic law, in relation to restricting areas where
smoking is permitted
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL:
The purpose of this legislation is to
prohibit smoking in private passenger automobiles where minors less
than 14 years of age are passengers in such vehicles.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:
Section 1. The vehicle and traffic law
is amended by adding a new section 1229-e.
1229-e: 1. Prohibits smoking in vehicles while children under 14 are
2. A person who holds a lighted, cigar, cigarette, pipe or any other
matter or substance which contains tobacco or any other plant or
matter that can be smoked to, or in the immediate proximity of his or
her mouth, while in such vehicle is presumed to be engaging in
smoking within the meaning of this section. The presumption
established by this subdivision is rebuttable by evidence showing
that the person was not smoking a lighted cigar, cigarette, pipe or
other matter or substance which contains tobacco or any other plant
or matter that can be smoked.
The harmful effect secondhand smoke (SHS) can have on
people, especially children, has been well documented. The EPA
estimates that secondhand smoke causes up to 62,000 deaths each year
among nonsmokers in the United States, including 3,000 deaths due to
lung cancer alone.
Secondhand tobacco smoke (SHS) is a major preventable contributor to
acute and chronic adverse health outcomes that affect children
disproportionately. An estimated 300,000 children nationwide develop
lower respiratory infections each year as a result of exposure to
secondhand smoke, with approximately 15,000 of these children
hospitalized due to their infections.
Exposure to secondhand smoke is a primary cause of asthma.
In 2006, the U.S. Surgeon General issued a report, "The Health
Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke," saying that
SHS is a serious health hazard that can lead to disease and premature
death in children. The report details that even brief exposure to SHS
has immediate, adverse effects on the cardiovascular system and that
because the bodies of infants and children are still developing; they
are especially vulnerable to the poisons in SHS.
That same year, the American Journal of Preventive Medicine reported
the results of a Harvard School of Public Health study on SHS in
automobiles. The study simulated children's exposure to secondhand
smoke in a motor vehicle by measuring carbon dioxide and respirable
particles (RSP) under actual driving conditions. The researchers
determined that the levels of RSP detected were deemed unsafe,
particularly for children. Their conclusion was that private
passenger cars are a domestic environment with the potential to yield
unsafe levels of SHS contaminants.
The World Health Organization has established 25 mcglm3 as the limit
for safe particulate matter levels. In 2012, The Scottish Centre for
Indoor Air at the University of Aberdeen conducted a study that
highlights the dangers of SHS in automobiles. Researchers measured
fine particulate matter in the rear passenger seat of cars driven by
14 smokers and three nonsmokers.
Particulate matter levels averaged 7.4 mcg/m3 during smoke-free
drives, but were 11 times higher (85 mcg/m3) in cars where smoking
occurred. Average levels peaked at 385 mcg/m3, with the highest level
being 880 mcg/m3.
While awareness of SHS has modified the behavior of smoking in
households, the same cannot be said of automobiles. A November 2012
Center for Child and Adolescent Health Research and Policy study
found that two out of three parents with smoke-free home policies
don't enforce the same rules in their car. Some three-quarters of
smoking parents admitted that someone had smoked in their car in the
last three months. In addition, only one-quarter of smoking parents
adopt a smoke-free car policy, and nearly half of those who don't
enforce a ban, smoke while their children are in the car.
Smoking is prohibited in many public places such as airplanes,
shopping malls, restaurants, bars, and a whole range of facilities
and spaces serving child age populations. The dangers secondhand
smoke can pose to a child in an enclosed area like a private
passenger vehicle are severe. We Currently provide protections for
both children and drivers by mandating the use of car seats and
seatbelts in private automobiles. This bill is an extension of those
protections by providing children clean air to breathe.
The $100 penalty imposed for violation of this ban is justified by the
significant, well documented negative health impact on those children
forcibly exposed to SHS in automobiles.
California, Maine, Louisiana, and Arkansas have enacted comparable
legislation. In New York State on the local level, Rockland County
has already enacted a ban on smoking in cars with children up to the
age of 18. At least 15 other states and the District of Columbia have
similar legislation pending. At present, seven states have enacted
legislation prohibiting smoking in cars that are transporting foster
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
2010: S 3191 reported to Third Reading
This act shall take effect on the one hundred
twentieth day after it shall have become law.