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Oregon Senate Votes To Ban Smoking In Cars With Children Present

Shannon Holman

SALEM, Ore. – Some Oregon lawmakers want to make it against the law to smoke in a vehicle when children are present. The Oregon Senate Wednesday approved a measure that would prohibit lighting up when anyone under the age of 18 is riding along.

Opponents called the bill an example of government intrusion. But supporters including Democrat Elizabeth Steiner Hayward say the legislation would protect children from the dangers of secondhand smoke.

"Some of you have concerns that this bill could be on a slippery slope toward banning parents from taking their children to get fast food. I can't see this happening," She said. "There is a safe level of fast food. There is no safe level of secondhand smoke."

The bill would make smoking in cars with children present a secondary offense. That means no one could get a ticket unless they were pulled over for something else first. At least four other states have similar laws on the books. A similar measure came up in the Washington legislature this year but died.

On the Web:

SB 444-A: Smoking in motor vehicles - Oregon Legislature