The capital of Hawaii has passed a new law making it illegal for anyone in a car to smoke while a child is present. The ban will heavily fine any smoker caught with a regular or electronic cigarette while a minor is in the vehicle.
Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell signed the bill into law on Oct. 17, days after the city council approved the measure by a unanimous vote. “They have to breathe in that secondhand smoke, and we know it can cause huge health problems down the road,” Caldwell said.
The fines will reportedly go to the person caught smoking by police, who may not be the driver of the car. First time offenders will receive a $100 fine. A second offense will cost smokers $200 and go up to $500 if the person is caught again within a one-year period.
It’s not clear how Honolulu police will effectively enforce the ban or determine if a person is under 18 years old without pulling over law-abiding drivers by mistake. City council members expressed confidence in law enforcement to uphold the ban. “HPD, which testified in favor, indicated they’ll do the best to enforce it. Police officers would be on the lookout for people smoking in vehicles,” council chairman Ron Menor said.
The 50th state’s capital is the latest community to outlaw smoking around children in cars. Nine other states or U.S. territories have passed similar bills against smoking around children including Arkansas, California, Virginia and Puerto Rico.
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