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June 03, 2015

N.J. bill would fine drivers for smoking with kids in car

Legislation Smoking
02172015_smoker_AP.jpg Darron Cummings, File/AP

Tobacco kills one in 10 people worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.

A New Jersey bill aims to fine drivers for smoking in the car with children present.

State Sen. Joseph Vitalechairman of the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee, introduced the bill last month, reports.

"Driving is privilege, it's not a right," Vitale told "Just like we have to obey the rules of the road in a manner that is safe, smoking in a car when a child is present is dangerous and should not be permitted."

Violators would be subject to a $100 fine, but they would not face surcharges on their driving or insurance record, according to the bill, S2883, also sponsored by Assemblyman Charles Mainor (D-Hudson). This would be a "secondary" offense, meaning police officers would not be permitted to pull over motorists merely because they had smoked in the presence of their kids. It would apply only if drivers are suspected of committing another moving violation.

Vitale expects resistance from some smokers but believes The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Surgeon General would support the ban.

State legislation to ban the practice in New Jersey has been introduced several times but failed to gain support.

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