Florida bill would ban smoking in cars with kids inside - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Florida bill would ban smoking in cars with kids inside


WEST PALM BEACH, FL (WFLX) - A bill to ban smoking in cars with kids inside is getting mixed reactions (See our Facebook Page). It's not because people are for or against it; it's mostly because they don't think it should be a law.

Senate Bill 548, filed by Senator Jeff Clemens of Lake Worth, proposes to make it illegal to smoke in a car with children 13 and under inside.

As a parent, Kathryn Templeton worries about her 14-year-old being around smokers. Her son, Webster Templeton, says he's used to his stepfather smoking in the car. "Pat smokes a lot in the car, and I don't really care honestly," said Webster to his mother.

"So he smokes in the car, but the windows are down? I don't allow smoking in my car," replied Templeton.

Templeton is against smoking around children, but she doesn't think a law is necessary. "I think it's a good reminder, a suggestion to parents, but what are you going to do -- you're going to litigate people because they're smoking in their cars?" added Templeton.

Others say the bill is ridiculous. "Government has a long history of overstepping their boundaries.This is just another example," said Benjamin Jones, a smoker.

On social media people are agreeing. Sally Sugg commented 'Ashamed this has to be law. Parents should know better".

There's similar reaction on Facebook regarding a bill to outlaw 'revenge porn'. Carlos Rangel wrote: "What we don't need is another law. Just don't take naked pictures of yourself."

Some say Senate Bill 548 is trying to dictate people's lifestyles like New York's failed effort to ban over-sized soda drinks last year. ACLU attorney James Green says this is different. "This would fall within the category of public health and particularly the health of children," said Green.

As cigarette butts pile up underneath Elizabeth Brach's feet, she says, she sees value in this bill. "I think it's a good law. I think it's harmful to kids," said Brach who is planning on quitting.

Templeton says there's a greater need to educate than regulate. "Just kind of give them a head's up, you know, think about what you're doing," added Templeton.

The bill will be discussed this upcoming legislative session and would face an uphill battle. It it does pass, it would go into effect October 1. If caught, you would be cited with a non-moving violation.

Here's a list of states which have passed similar laws:

Smokefree Car Laws

U.S. State / Commonwealth
Smokefree Provision
Effective Date
ArkansasPersons < than age 6 and under 60 pounds in a child safety seat. Effective 07/21/2006 
Persons < age 14. Effective 07/27/2011

07/21/2006
07/27/2011
CaliforniaPersons < age 1801/01/2008
LouisianaPersons < age 1308/15/2006
MainePersons < age 1609/01/2008
OregonPersons < age 18. The Legislature enacted SB444, which prohibits smoking in any motor vehicle in which a child under age 18 is a passenger. Enacted 6/11/2013 as Chapter 361 2013 Laws.01/01/2014
Puerto RicoPersons < age 1303/02/2007
UtahPersons < age 1505/14/2013
VermontPersons aged 8 and under07/01/2014

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