ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — The Maryland Senate wants to prohibit drivers from smoking in cars if a child under the age of 8 is a passenger.

Senators signed off on the bill in a 27-19 vote Wednesday.

Proponents of the legislation said they chose the 8-year-old standard because police officers will know if a child is under 8 years old because until that age children are required to ride in car seats.

They pointed to studies that they say prove smoking in a car, even with the windows open, fills the vehicle with dangerous levels of toxins.

Some said it is the responsibility of lawmakers to protect children who cannot otherwise keep themselves away from second-hand smoke.

“The science is clear,” said Sen. Paul Pinsky, D-Prince George’s. “It endangers the life of these children. If we do nothing, we are, by taking no action, by our inaction, condoning threatening the life of young people who have no voice.”

Drivers who violate the regulation could be fined up to $50 under the proposed legislation.

Opponents of the bill said it oversteps the boundaries of government by regulating legal behavior in private property.

Sen. Nancy Jacobs, R-Harford, supported the bill earlier this month in the Judicial Proceedings Committee, but said she had a change of heart and believes the legislation gives police officers overreaching authority.

“Just because somebody has a car seat they can stop you to check and that bothers me, so I’m going to do something that I don’t normally ever do, I’m going to vote against a bill that I voted for in committee,” said Jacobs, who told other Senators that she is a former smoker who has asthma and emphysema.

The bill now moves to Maryland’s House of Delegates for consideration.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Comments (19)
  1. D says:

    When is the government going to realize they need to stop being our parents and making decisions for us?

  2. fed up says:

    so just smoke more in the house with the kids and they can’t bother you

  3. BRUCE says:


  4. BRUCE says:

    what a waste of taxpayers money for something so petty when we are close to $4 a gallon gas and nobody has money to actually enjoy life.

  5. Carl\ says:

    No need to ban just put a tax on smoking in front of kids. We don’t have that tax yet

  6. Carl\ says:

    Thank God the democrats are saving our children, because the republicans want to kill them all. I just told my 7 year old, if we get stopped tell the nice officer you are 9 years old and I can get a fake birth certificate my son can carry with him at all times. What a bunch of idiots we have down there in Annapolis. Why not more casinos, oh, wait a minute when Erlich was Gov. The dems wanted to save everyone, now casinos are Ok What happened—hypocrites

  7. Anne says:

    I personally find smoking offensive, but I will defend anyone’s right to smoke within the confines of their personal property, be it their home or their vehicle, regardless of who is in the car without government interference. Next thing you know the Maryland legislature will attempt to regulate whether people can eat junk food in front of their kids. High fat, high calorie, low nutrition food is no less dangerous to growing kids than second-hand smoke.

    Geez – aren’t there any other problems they could be working on?

  8. Curtis says:

    Why would they pass yet another useless law that they have no way to enforce…aka the hands free cell phone law, didnt stop many from doing it. How are they gonna tell if there is a kid in the car when someone is smoking in their own property. Just proof we need real poeple in government not the bunch of morons running this state and country right now. Don’t believe me just watch the fuel prices change daily… Just a thought!

  9. bananafish6726 says:

    This is the first step in a logical progression, friends, which demonstrated what today’s Democratic Party is all about. It is not about children, or health. First, it is about control, and running your life. Secondly, it it about abolition of personal property rights. Next, they will be telling what you do in your home. They are already working on a bill prohibiting smoking in apt/condo buildings. Abolition of personal property is the central goal of communism. Think about it. I am a non-smoker; but this is NOT about smoking–it is about stripping you of another right.

  10. USSR of Maryland says:

    I do not care for smoking; however, I do not care for the increasingly Communist-like mentality of Maryland’s Democratic Party. It’s amazing that I now fear the Democrats more than I fear the Republican Fascist.

  11. USSR of Maryland says:

    This law, should it pass, should be challenged at the Federal level all the way up to the US Supreme Court. What’s next? Making it illegal to expel intestinal gas in your own car?

  12. awsinnottingham says:

    Never smoked in my life, but this is going way to far with intrusion in to our personal life. Tell the following socialists who sponsored the bill to butt out of our personal business: Senators Forehand, Kelley, Madaleno, Manno, and Young.

  13. awsinnottingham says:

    The companion bill in the House is sponsored by:Delegates Barnes, Arora, Barkley, Bobo, Frush, Healey, Hubbard, Hucker, Lafferty, Love, Niemann, Pena-Melnyk, Vaughn, Walker, and Wilson.

    1. jim says:

      Thankyou that will help in november to get these fools out office!!!!!!!!!

  14. anonymouse says:

    Now how may i ask are you gonna enforce that law? Look there goes 5 cars with smokers that have kids. Thats like the cell phone law. In fact I saw a truck sitting at a intersection in front of a cop car on his phone and the cop didnt do anything so how are you gonna enforce a law like no smoking around kids in cars? I mean you could try the same in houses but how there are you gonna do that either? Didnt they do enough to ask the smokers to stop smoking in businesses and bars? I dont smoke but isn’t that enough telling ppl what to do? And the ppl are just gonna do it anyway. Just like a lot of other stuff. Theres no way to enforce it.

  15. anonymose says:

    if you really want to stop the smoking that bad just take it up with the cigarette makers cuz i think thats the only way that will stop if you want it that bad

  16. dave says:

    How about blow jobs?

  17. Truth Telling says:

    Yes, another law to push a social agenda. PG, Montgomery, and Baltimore City need to be divested from the balance of the state so the rest of us can have some peace and sanity apart from these socialists.

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