SB 81 should be enacted

West Virginia state law already requires that adult motorists safeguard youthful passengers by using safety harnesses and, for the very young, child seats. Why not also protect them against another danger — secondhand smoke?

The health risks of breathing in tobacco smoke from someone else’s cigarette, cigar or pipe are well documented. Yet we still see cars in which young children can be seen — through a thick fog of smoke.

A bill introduced in the state Senate, SB 81, would make it a misdemeanor for an adult to smoke in a vehicle in which someone 16 years of age or younger is riding.

SB 81 is relatively toothless. Violations could be punished only by fines of $25 or less, with no court costs tacked on to the bill. Tickets could be handed out only if motorists are pulled over for some other offense.

Still, the bill should be enacted, if only to send a message to smokers that children should not suffer from adults’ bad habits.


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