Metro

Vermont latest state to outlaw car smoking with kids

BURLINGTON, Vt. — Want a cigarette while you’re driving with your kids in the car? Not in Vermont, which is getting ready to implement some of the nation’s strictest antismoking laws, including a provision that would allow police to pull over anyone seen smoking with young children in the car and fine them $100.

On Tuesday, Vermont will be the seventh state in the country to ban smoking in cars carrying children and the sixth to outlaw smoking in hotel rooms.

Advertisement

Dr. Harry Chen, the state’s health commissioner, said Friday it is hoped that the new laws will encourage smokers to quit and protect the health of people who are around smokers, including children and hotel staff members who could be exposed to secondhand smoke.

The law comes 27 years after Vermont implemented its first antismoking law and 50 years after the surgeon general first ruled smoking is dangerous. Chen estimated that since 1964, smoking has killed 20 million people in the United States.

Get Fast Forward in your inbox:
Forget yesterday's news. Get what you need today in this early-morning email.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

‘‘Tobacco is still the No. 1 killer,’’ Chen said. ‘‘It complicates asthma; heart disease; stroke; early, unexpected sudden infant death; and low birth weight in babies.’’

Under the new law, most of which takes effect Tuesday, smoking will be prohibited in cars carrying children younger than 8. Drivers will be subject to fines up to $100.

Rebecca Ryan, a senior director of health education and public policy at the American Lung Association in Vermont, said smoking was first banned in cars carrying children in Arkansas in 2006, followed by Louisiana.

Advertisement

Maine banned smoking in cars carrying children under age 16 in 2008. Smoking in cars with children has also been banned in Puerto Rico and some Canadian provinces.

In addition to hotel rooms, the new Vermont law will also ban smoking on all state property and on the property of hospitals or secure residential recovery facilities owned or operated by the state. It also bans tobacco products at schools and child-care centers.

Loading comments...
Real journalists. Real journalism. Subscribe to The Boston Globe today.