SPRINGFIELD — A state lawmaker wants to make smoking in a car while riding with minors a punishable offense.

A recent proposal would allow police to write tickets for up to $100 for smoking in a car with a passenger under the age of 18.

Kathy Drea, a lobbyist for the American Lung Association, testified before a state senate committee on Tuesday that children face a much higher risk of serious medical issues stemming from inhalation of secondhand smoke.

"Because children breathe more rapidly than adults, they inhale more harmful chemicals per pound of their weight than adults do in the same amount of time," she said. "Children are especially vulnerable to secondhand smoke exposure in small, confined spaces, such as cars."

Smoke inhalation among children, she said, can lead to middle ear infections, asthma episodes, bronchitis, pneumonia, sudden infant death syndrome and the development of heart disease and lung cancer.

State Sen. Ira Silverstein, D-Chicago, who sponsors the legislation, said that officers wouldn't be able to pull drivers over just for committing this offense. Once pulled over for something else, however, officers could issue a ticket for smoking.

He said the proposal was a rare opportunity for the legislature to prevent a tragedy, rather than just respond to one.

"It's very rare that we try to do something proactive," he said. "I don't know what the future has, but I'm trying to be proactive to prevent a child from getting cancer, or anyone else getting sick. I think that's part of our job."

Drea added that the plan obviously wouldn't put an end to all smoke-related health issues, but that it would help.

"There is no one silver bullet to reduce tobacco use," she said. "It's going to take many efforts and programs at all different levels to reduce the tobacco prevalence rates among youths and adults.

"This is just one very simple thing that we can do right now to protect our children."

The legislation is Senate Bill 2659.

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(23) comments


One time I was following a car in which a man was smoking. I could see the smoke in his car as it was circling around and I thought how awful if he had had others in the car. Smokers ain't going to like it. But I guess they don't see anything wrong with that stuff going into lungs.

Ted Kennedy's Drill Instructor
Ted Kennedy's Drill Instructor

At one time at band camp by boyfriend used to saxophone for a bong.


You are exactly right. I am just glad that none of the posion exhaust gases from all the millions of cars on the road ever get into anyones lungs.


Wow, another law!! Whether they smoke in a car with minors or at home with minors, what's the difference? How about a law that makes it illegal for pets to run free in a car? Little by little our rights and freedom of choice is being taken awhile. A river doesn't change its course overnight.


I totally agree. Our government certainly wastes a lot of time figuring out how to control us citizens. I think they've forgotten the part about the government is supposed to be working for us. Our forefathers certainly did not intend for government to get into our individual lives, and if they were still alive I'm sure they'd be telling us to revolt. One tiny little law at a time they are changing the face of our government. The Beatles had a song back in the 60's called the Tax Man....possibly they were right and soon we'll have to pay to walk on the sidewalk.

the Advocate

Just wait for that driver to throw his 3rd butt out the window and we can send him to prison as a felon! How would our forefathers have reacted had King George forced these laws on the colonists? Makes Boston look like a tea party!

The Unforgiven
The Unforgiven

So ....... let's protect our kids in cars but not in the womb? It's perfectly legal for a mother to smoke/drink/do drugs while pregnant and even God forbid slaughter it like a sheep, but if they're in a car ...... that's where we get serious.


I would love to see what this politicians response would be if asked that question.

smiley face

The Unforgiven you are so right! Yes, I can see how second hand smoke is harmful, especially to children. But we still have idiots on the roads. I think people who are careless shouldn't be driving but even idiots have to pay to renew their licenses. Today on my way to el paso from normal I was boxed in by 3 semis. But the laws don't do anything about that either. Instead of controlling people for little things, why don't you worry about the heroine supplier(s) growing in bloomington-normal?


It's against the law to drive in the left lane on Illinois interstates, drive while talking on a cell phone and now there's talk of creating another unenforceable law? I remember Chicagoans laughing at an ancient law prohibiting spitting on the sidewalk.

Smoking around children is stupid and cruel. Leave police out of this. They have enough work to do already. Adults should have enough common sense to not smoke in front of kids. Many adults have COPD because of growing up with human chimneys.


Wow!!!....finally a group of different opinions that all ring true. There are not enough police to enforce the current laws on the books. State and municipal cutbacks have decimated their ranks. Easy to go 90MPH from McCormack Place to the St. Louis Arch while talking on your hand held device, texting on your I-Pad, eating, smoking and throwing your trash out the window. Does anyone ever notice that smokers are the biggest "litter-bugs" of all? They think nothing of throwing the wrappers, packs or butts away all in the name of smokers rights. Still looking for that in the constitutions. The animals running free in cars law??? That failed in the great IL Legislature last year. Trust Chicago Democrats like Ira and the Madigans. They will save us all. Lung Cancer/2nd Hand Smoke? Not to worry as the next great thing will be legalized pot in the Land of Rusted License Plates. No worries.

Ted Kennedy's Drill Instructor
Ted Kennedy's Drill Instructor

Like it.. don't like it post your comments here....



I knew that this was a liberal proposal before I ever read the article. Why are liberals so intent on intruding on the privacy of others?


Give a liberal an inch, they take a mile. When DOOMBERG of New York started all this BS about banning large sodas, the GESTAPO bans on where people could smoke, and then actually banning water vapor cigarettes in public; the writing was on the wall. There are other progressive ie intrusive liberals in other parts of the country to take the ball and run with it. Are we a nation of rights and freedoms, or uninforcible laws? If you leave it up to the left wing whackaloons it will be the latter. I suggest there be a BAN placed on politicians who suuport laws that BAN legal activities of consenting adults. I personally to not smoke but if a person wants to light up he is entitled too by paying the excessive taxes placed on that particular freedom. I am not a soda drinker, but if a person wants to chug 4 big gulps a day, have at it. Liberals fully support a womans right choose abortion, yet these same hypocrites OPPOSE a persons right to have a large Coca Cola? These people are to be ridiculed instead of elected into office.


Everyone knows smoking is bad for you. Efforts to reduce smoking have resulted in a reduction to 18% of adults smoking. Why are we writing a law that applies to only 18% of our population? Not to mention the police having more important things to do with their time (greater risks to us all to try to curtail).

Mostly this serves as on illustration - that our men and women in Springfield, who allegedly work for us, are off the mark by quite a bit on what they should be focusing on. Our state is broke. Financially bereft to the point where it is questionable if we will have a functioning government down the road. They should be putting every single minute of every day into fixing that problem...


What is really amazing is the people still buy all this anti-smoking hype. The number of smokers in this country is now down to 18% of the population while diseases said to be caused by smoking are going through the roof. Childhood Asthma, childhood allergies, juvenile diabetes all increasing at an alarming rate. Adult diabetes is now blamed on smoking and it also is increasing while the smoking population continues to decrease. Smoking related diseases has widened to include almost ever ailment. It isn't all smoke people, in fact smoke is a minor player. The tobacco grower's lobby is small, their revenue contribution is not as big as corporate American and the average Joe and Jane will swallow what they are fed. Blame tobacco for all of it, good busy work for a nation of the gullible. Meanwhile we are being poisoned by other means, our foods are laced with chemicals and are air, soil and water is contaminated. Yeah blame it all on smokers even though the person most effected by their habit is them. OSHA already did a detailed study on second hand smoke and it was never given a second look. If the public believed that report it would cause a lot of profitable industries to spend a portion of stock holder's dividends. Blame smokers the people are dumb enough to believe it. Smoking is not good for you, agreed. It is not the villain they expect us to believe. Wonder what they will blame all the health problems on when they eliminate tobacco. They will still be there because tobacco is not the main player.

not near 61761

Yea, then Normal police will have a better reason to pull you over before giving you a ticket for something. HMMM I thought i seen a childs head and you're smoking. It's getting humerous the new laws daily. Tomorrow hmmm what will the new 1 be for tomorrow?


Tomorrow's law will be a rule about consuming beans and then visiting government buildings.


Follow the bouncy ball.
State of Illinois makes a law that say smoking in a car with minors is dangerous to minors.
Jane Doe-Smith is given a ticket for such activity.
Ex-husband who wants custody of kids finds out.
Ex-husband who wants custody of kids reports Jane for Child endangerment
Ex-husband goes to court to get custody of kids.
Activist judge doesn't like men, takes kids away from Jane and sends them to foster home.


Another really itsy, bitsy, microbial level, absolutely low (no) priority attempt at legislation by a state legislature who have no scruples, over spend year end and year out, but have to come up with something so they can put a chit on their legislative accomplishments....and, get the dim among us to think they have. I'm not a smoking fan; but, leave it alone. Is there a functioning brain capable of critical thinking at the state legislative level? Argh!




One more time an IDIOT D-Chicago (get it straight Pantagragh and put Democrat in the headline) instead of worrying about the horrendous debt and pitiful job creation they have produced, throw another stupid law at the taxpayers. They use the media to distract from their horrible performance and the media falls for it.


Another reason to leave the oppressive state of Illinois. Tourism, forget it!

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