Is It Illegal To Smoke In A Car With An Underage Passenger?
Can smokers legally smoke in a car that also has passengers who are minors? New York is definitely a state that seems to frown upon tobacco smoke, but is it legal to put children at risk with second-hand smoke? Here's what the law says.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, second-hand smoke is very dangerous for children and can cause various health problems,
Secondhand smoke can cause serious health problems in children. Studies show that older children whose parents smoke get sick more often. Their lungs grow less than children who do not breathe secondhand smoke, and they get more bronchitis and pneumonia.
A bill to prevent smoking in a vehicle where a child is a passenger was introduced in the State Senate during the 2015-2016 Legislative Session. Senate Bill S3155A reads,
Prohibits smoking in private passenger cars, vans and trucks where a minor less than 14 years of age is a passenger in such vehicles; provides for rebuttable presumption; provides that violations of such provisions shall be subject to a fine of not more than $100.
The bill stalled, however. Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky, the bill's sponsor, told Spectrum News that it has faced different challenges that have prevented it from passing the Senate Health Committee. He did say that he plans on possibly pursuing it again this year.
Wheezing and coughing are more common in children who breathe secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke can trigger an asthma attack in a child. Children with asthma who are around secondhand smoke have more severe and frequent asthma attacks. A severe asthma attack can put a child’s life in danger. Children whose parents smoke around them get more ear infections. They also have fluid in their ears more often and have more operations to put in ear tubes for drainage.
New York State has certainly placed a financial burden on tobacco smokers. The state tax on cigarettes is $4.35 per package of 20 cigarettes. New York City also makes it financially expensive to smoke by adding a $1.50 per package of 20 cigarettes tax. That brings the total taxes for New York City residents who smoke to $5.85.
As of now, there is no law on the books in New York State that makes it illegal to smoke with a minor in a vehicle. But, there are a few places that have made it illegal locally.
Smoking in a vehicle with an underage passenger is illegal in:
City of Schenectady