New California vehicle smoking ban begins Tuesday |

New California vehicle smoking ban begins Tuesday

On Tuesday, a new California law takes effect which prohibits smoking in cars when youth under 18 years old are present, giving California the most comprehensive smoke-free car law in the nation.

According to the 2006 Surgeon General’s Report, there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke.

A team of environmental scientists from Stanford University also published a study showing that peak levels of secondhand smoke from smoking in a car can be up to 10 times greater than the level which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers hazardous.

“The science is indisputable that smoking in cars poses serious health risks,” said Alpine County Health Officer Dr. Richard Harvey. “I urge every resident of Alpine County to support this important public health law and protect our children.”

Evidence shows that children are especially vulnerable to the health effects caused by secondhand smoke.

According to the EPA, secondhand smoke causes 31,000 asthma attacks in children each year.

“For the past two decades, those of us living in Alpine County, and all of California have benefited from public health laws that protect our communities from tobacco and secondhand smoke,” said Harvey. “This new law protecting youth from secondhand smoke in cars is an important and logical extension of that protection.”

Effective Jan. 1 the Smoke-free Cars with Minors law prohibits smoking in a motor vehicle, regardless of whether the vehicle is stationary or moving, in which someone under 18 years old is present.

Violating the new law is punishable by a fine of up to $100 and categorized as a secondary offense, meaning an officer may not pull over a vehicle for the sole purpose of checking if the driver is smoking with a minor present.

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