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West Virginia bans smoking in cars with children inside and imposes fines

West Virginia, which has the highest adult smoking rate in the nation, has become the 12th state to ban smoking in cars with children, under a bill signed by Republican Gov. Jim Justice on Friday.

However, if the violator is stopped for another violation, they can only be fined up to $25. Smoking in the presence of children should not be the main reason a driver is stopped.

About 22% of West Virginia adults smoked in 2021, the most recent year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC says there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke.

The justices did not comment on the bill, which is one of 15 he signed into law Friday. West Virginia's 60-day legislative debate ended on March 9th.

The bill was introduced in the Republican-controlled state Senate, whose majority leader, Tom Takubo, is a lung doctor. Dr. Takubo said he promised his patient, whose father is a heavy smoker, a long time ago that he would try to get such a bill passed. Takubo has worked to introduce the bill almost every year since 2017.

The biggest hurdle has arrivedIn the House of Representatives Finance Committeenarrowly won passage after Republican Rep. John Hardy called it “just another big government bill.”

“The next step is your home. The next step could be your business. Where do you move this?” Hardy said. “This is the most un-Republican bill I've ever seen in my life.”

Republican Rep. Dana Ferrell said the government sometimes has to intervene for the safety and well-being of children.

Ferrell said her parents would smoke in the car when she and her siblings were young. He recalled the children trying to hide near the floor in the back seat to protect their faces.

“Some people may think it's a cliche, but I've been there. I've experienced it,” Ferrell said. “This is a horrible situation that I wouldn't wish on any other child.”

The Republican-led House then passed the bill without debate.

https://www.wtrf.com/west-virginia/smoking-in-car-with-children-is-now-banned-in-west-virginia-and-will-get-you-fined/ West Virginia bans smoking in cars with children inside and imposes fines

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