(INDIANAPOLIS) – Indiana state lawmakers are making a push to protect kids.
They’re considering a bill that would make it illegal to smoke in a car with children under six inside.
This rule doesn’t just apply to parents. It applies to anyone who might be driving with kids — from aunts and uncles to babysitters.
Lawmakers say those kids don’t necessarily have the ability to roll down a window for some fresh air. Their hope is to protect youngsters’ rights.
Nearly 40 million adults in America smoke cigarettes.
You probably know someone who does, even though the link between smoking and cancer was established in the 60’s.
“So, we’ve known since then that it has this implication in terms of our health, but we’re still talking about this thing, right? We’re still dealing with it. It still causes death and disease,” said Latorya Greene, co-coordinator, Smoke Free St. Joe.
Greene works with Smoke Free St. Joe to help people quit. She would actually like to see more legislation that prevents people from picking up smoking in the first place.
“Definitely one of the things we’re working on is increasing the cigarette tax as well too,” said Greene.
She talked to us about some of the more well-known effects of secondhand smoke, like asthma. But there are issues that pop up over time.
“Maybe issues with attention deficit disorders or just attention in general as far as comprehension of tests and things like that,” said Greene.
Senator Mike Bohacek says those are the very reasons his colleagues wrote this bill.
“If it makes it to committee and I’m on that committee, I’ll certainly vote for it and I’ll vote for it on the floor,” said Bohacek (R) District 8.
To many, including Bohacek, this bill seems common sense. But plenty of people chimed in on Facebook in opposition to the proposed law. Their biggest complaint was that the government was trying to overreach on private property.
“It is your car and you do have freedoms and rights to do as you feel is best, provided you’re not harming somebody else. In this case, you’re going to be harming a child whether it’s your own or someone else’s,” said Bohacek.
WSBT 22 spoke with Elkhart Police about this bill. They wouldn’t tell us if they support the bill, but did say it would be pretty easy to enforce.
Officers there say they already look into car windows for infractions like not wearing a seat belt.
If the bill passes, they’ll just look for cigarette smoke, too.
Information WSBT22, https://wsbt.com