ATLANTA – It could soon be illegal in Georgia to smoke in a car when children are present.
State Representative Sandra Scott, D-Rex, has pre-filed legislation that would ban adults from smoking in a vehicle when anyone under 18 is also in the car.
“It would be the voice for the voiceless; it would be the voice for children,” explained Rep. Scott.
Scott said she filed the bill after a co-worker told her about the extensive medical issues she has dealt with as the result of second-hand smoke exposure as a child.
“Asthma, asthma, asthma–we have so many kids that are affected by asthma and bronchitis and all different types of lung issues,” Scott added.
This is not the first time lawmakers have tried to pass this type of legislation. In 2015, several lawmakers sponsored Senate Bill 130, which would have made it a misdemeanor for anyone to smoke in a car when a child under 15 was in the vehicle. The bill passed the senate, but faltered in the house.
“Smoking around kids is horrible and the intent is wonderful and I understand that,” said Lisa Hill, who disagrees with the bill. “Even if you stop them smoking in their car, they’re going to go home and smoke with the kid and the kids live at home, so then what are you going to do?”
Rep. Scott understands that the bill may be difficult to enforce, but she said the goal is as much about education as anything else.
“I would tell them to think about their kids, think about their children, think about the cost that they could incur from smoking in the car with their kids, think about the life of their child,” said Scott.
She said the bill is a work in progress and that she will likely change the legislation to include a fine of $50 for the first offense and $100 for the second.
The state legislature will begin its work January 9.