Drivers: Don’t smoke when children are in the car

I was sitting at a stop light last week taking in the scenery when I looked in my rearview mirror and noticed that the driver was smoking. A smaller person, possibly a child, was sitting in the passenger seat. If a child was riding shotgun with the smoker, that driver was violating a law that went into effect back in 2008. The law makes it an infraction for a person to smoke a cigarette, pipe or cigar in a motor vehicle any time children are along for the ride. The fine for violating Health and Safety code section 118948 can be no larger than $100. Below are the health effects of secondhand cigarette smoke on children from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
  • Ear infections
  • More frequent and severe asthma attacks
  • Respiratory symptoms, such as coughing, sneezing and shortness of breath
  • Respiratory infections
  • A greater risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
The CDC also reported that secondhand smoke exposure is behind an estimated 150,000-300,000 new bronchitis and pneumonia cases annually in American children aged 18 months and under.
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