House backs ban on smoking in car with young children

Utah lawmakers on Tuesday passed a proposed ban on smoking in a vehicle in which children are riding.

HB82, sponsored by Rep. Jay Seegmiller, D-Sandy, would bar smoking in the vehicle when a child younger than 8 and requiring a restraining device is present. The proposed penalty is a $45 ticket.

Several lawmakers argued passionately for keeping children from breathing various chemicals in cigarettes, and Seegmiller said the children have no other protection.

“This is a tremendously important bill to protect the rights of children who can’t speak for themselves,” he said.

Others argued that a ticket won’t keep people from continuing to smoke around their children, and a ban is intrusive. Rep. Carl Wimmer, R-Herriman, said the Legislature this year is passing other bills and resolutions to get the federal government out of people’s lives and should not now create greater state impositions.

“To think that we are smarter, or know more, or even care more about other people’s children is absurd,” Wimmer said.

The bill passed 40-31 and now goes to the Senate.


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