City leaders in D.C. are considering a new bill that could make it a crime to smoke in a car with kids under the age of 12.
This issue is being talked about in many other places across the country. Illinois lawmakers are considering a similar ban.
We all know smoking is dangerous for the person that lights up and also for that person nearby. So what happens to a child trapped in a car with a smoking adult?
“It irritates me to see that, but what irritates me more is when I see the alarming rates of kids with asthma in the District of Columbia,” said Ward 7 Councilmember Yvette Alexander.
Alexander and others on the city council want a law instructing police to hand out tickets if an adult smokes with a child in the car under 12 years old.
The first offense would cost you $25. The second offense would be $50. The third time you get caught would be a $250 fine.
“It should be a lot higher -- that way people probably would stop,” said D.C. resident Kenneth Reily. “People are still going to do it anyway, but there’s not going to be as many people because of a fine.”
But is this going too far by telling parents what is appropriate to do in front of their kids?
“It’s kind up to the parents’ discretion to decide if they should do something like that in front of their child,” said Jade Taylor. “That's kind like taking away one of their rights.”
“It's America -- you can do what you want -- but you also have to think about the safety of children and the people around you,” said Lawrence Ashley.
The American Lung Association is backing a similar bill in Illinois. They believe it will improve awareness.
Alexander also believes this bill will educate smoking adults, and maybe end up saving children from health issues.
“It looks like Big Brother is watching, but actually my concern is with those vulnerable children in the car that don't have a voice,” she said.
We are told this bill failed to get support when it was first proposed many years ago, but Councilmember Alexander said she already has six co-sponsors to her bill and she thinks a majority vote by the full council won't be a problem.
First, a public hearing need to be held, so a vote by the council could be several months away.