Representative Sandra Scott (Photo: Georgia House of Representatives)

State representative Sandra Scott has dropped legislation to prohibit anyone from smoking in a vehicle, in motion or in park, if a minor is present.

Any person found to be smoking in a vehicle with a person aged 13 and under would be guilty of a misdemeanor and fined $100. The bill does not apply to any other location.

Scott is a Democrat and an educator from Rex, Georgia and the initiative is a familiar one for Scott who filed the same legislation during the 2017-18 legislative session. The bill never received a committee hearing. The 2019 version – House Bill 17- has not yet been assigned to a committee.

According to LegalBeagle, a handful of states have already banned smoking in vehicles with minors, including Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Maine, Oregon, Utah, Virginia, and Vermont. Other states have tried to ban such practices and advocacy groups like the ‘Americans for Nonsmokers Rights‘ work to spread awareness about these types of legislation and the benefits of such.

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids says that “While the research specific to children, secondhand smoke, and vehicles is limited, there is overwhelming evidence
of the harms associated with exposure to secondhand smoke that is specific to children and
specific to enclosed environments.”

One concern for opponents of this initiative is how such a law would be enforced. Additionally, the legislation makes no mention of punishment or fines, however, the language is suggested to be inserted into the ‘Smoke Free Air’ section of the Georgia Code, which is enforced by authorized agents of the Georgia Department of Health and the county boards operating under the state agency.

The bill will have to make it through the House Committee before it can be voted on on the House floor. If the vote is successful, the measure will head to the Senate Committee and then on to the Senate floor. If both chambers approve the bill, it will be sent to the Governor’s desk. The legislative calendar has not yet been set.

You can read the bill below. [If you’re reading on a mobile device or having trouble loading the PDF, click here to read the bill.]

HB 17 _2019
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