Thursday, May 16th, 2013
Legislation that would ban adults from smoking in cars where children in car seats are riding, nicknamed the “Little Lungs” bill, is under consideration in Massachusetts. The website Wicked Local has the story:
Rep. Paul Heroux, a freshman representative from Attleboro, wants to make it illegal to smoke with children in the car, citing health risks from secondhand smoke. Heroux said the proposed law could be enforced in a manner similar to the law banning texting while driving.
“If an officer sees it, you are busted,” Heroux said after testifying Tuesday on his legislation (H 1984), dubbed “an act to protect little lungs” and cosponsored by Reps. Mary Keefe, D-Worcester; Thomas Sannicandro, D-Ashland; and Marjorie Decker, D-Cambridge.
Any driver or passenger who violates the law would be subject to a $100 fine. Police officers would not be able to search or inspect a motor vehicle, or its contents, the driver, or a passenger solely because the vehicle was pulled over for the smoking violation, according to the legislation, which would apply to vehicles including children who are required to be secured by a child passenger restraint.
Heroux acknowledged his proposal would not be easy to enforce but said he hopes it would make smokers think twice before lighting up with children in the car.
Heroux also said a smoking ban when children are in the car would raise awareness about the dangers of secondhand smoke, which led the Legislature and Gov. Mitt Romney to pass a 2004 law banning smoking in most workplaces.
Image: Cigarettes and pacifier, via Shutterstock
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Tuesday, September 6th, 2011
A new study finds that kids exposed to second-hand smoke at home get sick and miss school more often than children who live in nonsmoking homes, CNN.com reports.
Published in the journal Pediatrics, the study found that children who live with one or more smokers missed an average of one to two days more per school year than other kids. Living with multiple smokers led to more illnesses and more school days missed, researchers said. From CNN:
The research suggests that families could reduce absenteeism by 24 to 34 % if smoking was eliminated from their households.
According to the study, about one third of children in the United States live with a smoker. Among children aged 3 to 11, at least 56% have detectable levels of a chemical called serum cotinine, an indication of tobacco smoke exposure. Cotinine is a breakdown of nicotine and can be measured by analyzing levels in the blood, urine or saliva. Researchers say this establishes a link between household smoking and two specific respiratory illnesses.
“Kids living with people smoking in the home were more likely to have ear infections and chest colds,” Dr. Douglas Levy, the study’s principal investigator and Assistant in Health Care Policy at the Mongan Institute for Health Policy said. “Among kids who were living with smokers, a quarter to one-third of the days they missed from school can be attributed to the fact that they live with someone who smokes in the home.”
Levy also pointed out that second-hand smoke creates a financial burden for parents who must miss work to stay home with sick kids. “When kids are home from school, particularly young kids, the cost overall is $227 million dollars [in lost pay] per year,” Levy told CNN.
(image via: http://wtaq.com)
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