Legislators on Long Island are pushing a new bill that would ban smoking in a car when there is a minor present.
The ban, which has been introduced to the legislature in Nassau County, would make it illegal to light up in a car if someone under the age of 18 is riding along. Penalties could include a $1,000 fine.
Nassau County Legislator Judi Bosworth, who co-sponsored the bill along with Woodbury Legislator Judy Jacobs, says part of the aim is to "raise consciousness" about the dangers of secondhand smoke on children.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, which has a program advocating smoke-free cars, exposing children to secondhand smoke is responsible for increases in asthma attacks and respiratory tract infections.
She adds that since the 1960s, laws requiring car seats and seat belts have made kids safer as they ride in cars.
"You're not even allowed to take a newborn home from a hospital without a proper car seat. So strangely, the only dangerous element left [for kids] is smoking in a car," Bosworth said.