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Maryland Considers Smoking Ban In Kid-Laden Cars

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Maryland smokers with children may soon have to stop lighting up on the road.
Matthias Weinberger: http://www.flickr.com/photos/51035610542@N01/60002388/
Maryland smokers with children may soon have to stop lighting up on the road.

A bill that would outlaw smoking in vehicles with passengers younger than 8 years old has gotten preliminary approval in the Maryland State Senate.

Attempts were made to amend the bill so that the law would be a secondary rather than a primary offense. Police officers are able to pull someone over for violations of primary offenses by themselves. Another amendment that was proposed would have prevented children from riding in a vehicle where someone had smoked at all.

Lawmakers had also attempted to amend the bill on Friday, changing the age to 16, but that amendment was overturned after supporters appeared to realize they had voted in error. They said while second-hand smoke is harmful to children of all ages, limiting the ban to those under 8 will make enforcement easier, because until that age, children are required to ride in car seats. And they say that will give police a visual cue that a younger child is in the vehicle.

Supporters of the smoking measure say it's need to protect children from the harmful effects of second-hand smoke.

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