A Jefferson County lawmaker is taking another shot at a measure that shouldn’t require legislation if every Alabamian had common sense.
Rep. Rolanda Hollis introduced a measure that would make it illegal for someone to smoke tobacco in a vehicle when a child 14 or younger is present. The infraction would carry a $100 fine.
Hollis reasons that an adult has a choice of getting out of the car if someone is smoking. A child doesn’t have that luxury.
In the last 20 to 30 years, governments have instituted smoking bans of varying degrees across the United States. Restaurants and businesses have instituted their own rules, as have many municipalities. Beyond that, there’s been a slow change in societal attitude toward tobacco use that has accompanied a decline in the number of smokers.
However, Rep. Hollis may be facing an uphill battle. She introduced the measure last year, but it failed, although 11 states have similar laws in place. Alabama doesn’t have a statewide smoking ban.
Considering the evidence of the dangers of second-hand smoke, it’s unthinkable to many people that someone would willingly subject their children to accumulating tobacco smoke in an enclosed vehicle, risking respiratory problems in their developing youngsters and perhaps even making them more susceptible to picking up the habit themselves later in life.
Lawmakers should give the measure a full review; if they care about the health of Alabama’s children, they’ll pass the proposal into law, and suggest that tobacco-using parents smoke outside their vehicles when their children are on board.