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Lawmaker Wants Ban On Smoking In Cars With Kids

CHICAGO (CBS) -- An Illinois state senator wants to ban adults from smoking in cars when children are present.

WBBM Newsradio's John Cody reports Sen. Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago) argued there is no safe level of second-hand smoke for a minor to be inhaling, so he's introduced legislation to prohibit smoking in a vehicle if anyone under the age of 18 is inside.

"This protects children from prolonged enclosed exposure to smoke in a less-ventilated setting," he said. "I analogize it similar to seat belts."

Lawmaker Wants Ban On Smoking In Cars With Kids

Kathy Drea, vice president of the American Lung Association in Illinois, said the smoke-filled interior of a car is worse than the inside of a smoky bar or restaurant, "because it's just such a small, confined space."

Drea said it wouldn't be much of a stretch to ban smoking inside a car with children inside, as state law already prohibits other behaviors while driving – such as talking or texting on your phone.

"You can't carry open alcohol in a car. You have to have seat belts on. You have to have car seats (for kids)," she added.

Police officers would not be allowed to pull over a vehicle simply because of a violation of the ban, but could write a $100 ticket if the car is pulled over for another offense.

The measure was discussed in a Senate committee in Springfield on Tuesday, but senators did not vote, as more testimony is planned later.

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