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News Summary

Smoking-in-car-with-kids bill OK'd

Publication Date: 2011-03-03
  • Author:Lee Davidson
  • Publication:Salt Lake Tribune

Resurrected after earlier defeat, a bill to ban smoking in cars where children are present passed a House committee Wednesday.

HB89 by Rep. Patrice Arent, D-Millcreek, had earlier been killed on a 9-5 vote by the House Transportation Committee amid complaints that it interfered too much with parents' rights.

But Arent argued successfully that the bill should have been assigned to the House Health and Human Services instead. That committee passed it 7-2 on Wednesday. It now goes to the full House...

But pediatrician Tom Metcalf testified that doctors call smoking in small, confined spaces such as cars "non-accidental trauma, which is child abuse."

Liz Zentner, testifying for the Utah PTA, said smoking with children present turns cars into "gas chambers with wheels" and said she is embarrassed to be from a state where so many lawmakers "work so hard to protect the right of people who put their addiction before the health of their children."

Arent said there is a simple reason for her legislation.

"We should make smoking illegal in cars with children because we know every time it happens, it hurts children," she said.