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News Summary

Utah bill seeks to ban smoking in cars with kids

Publication Date: 2011-02-01
  • Author:Lee Davidson
  • Publication:Salt Lake Tribune

Rep. Patrice Arent, D-Millcreek, hopes that the fourth time is the charm for HB89 to ban smoking in a car when a child age 15 or younger is present.

Similar legislation has been run three other times by other legislators, but has run into problems from lawmakers who fear it may infringe on the rights of parents.

Arent noted the bill previously has passed the Senate and the House in various years -- but not both at the same time.

"Kids should not have to ride in cars filled with smoke," Arent said at a news conference filled with children and doctors. "This is common-sense legislation to protect children."

She added that Utah law bans smoking in the Capitol "or in any public building or restaurant or day-care center or school. Think how large this room is, and then think about smoke in a small, confined area" such as a car, which she said concentrates toxins.

Kevin E. Nelson, a pediatrician at Primary Children's Medical Center, said secondhand smoke causes more problems with asthma, pneumonia, even ear infections. He helped form Utah Pediatricians Against Secondhand Smoke, which endorses the bill.

Tyler Adams, a ninth-grader at Brockbank Junior High in Magna, noted that students are taught in their health classes that "secondhand smoke is just as dangerous as smoking a cigarette."