Smoking in a car with kids may become secondary offense in NJ

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Smoking while kids are in a car in New Jersey could result in a $100 fine.

Senate Health Committee Chairman Joe Vitale has introduced legislation he said would protect the well-being of children.

“We don’t allow smoking in restaurants. We don’t allow smoking in the workplace. We don’t allow smoking in a number of public or private institutions

“In a car, particularly in a confined space like that, smoking has such a detrimental health effect on young children and their lungs and their heart, so I think it’s the right thing to do,” said Vitale, D-Middlesex.

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His bill designates smoking in a car with as a secondary offense. So drivers would have to be pulled over for some other violation before they could be ticketed for smoking when children are present in a vehicle.

Vitale anticipates some opposition.

“There are some folks who’ve said this is sort of a freedom issue. We’re not trying to infringe on anyone’s rights,” he said Friday. “They can smoke if they’d like to, but I don’t think they have the right to endanger the welfare of children whether it’s your kid or someone else’s in your car.”

The Senate Health Committee is expected to hold a hearing on the proposal in a few weeks.

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