NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) -– A task force in Connecticut is expected to meet on Wednesday to discuss making it illegal to smoke in a car with a child. This follows a couple unsuccessful tries to change smoking laws.
Despite the known dangers of secondhand smoke, should smoking in the car with a child inside be a crime?
Lawmakers in Hartford have tried to make it illegal for a couple years, but they ran into problems. The solution was to create a task force on the issue with politicians, doctors and other experts. That task force meets later Wednesday to vote on its recommendations.
One of the concerns was how to enforce the ban. WTNH-TV spoke to the co-chair of the task force and her idea is to make it illegal to smoke in a car with a child who is in a car seat.
That gives police two things to look for – a cigarette and a car seat. Another concern is what should the punishment be?
“I think we’ll have proposals and some ideas and sort of get a consensus on some sort of ban, on different kinds of enforcement – a warning, a fine, a class or online course – we’re looking at everything,” said State Rep. Noreen Kokoruda, (R) Madison.
They’re also looking at more ways to educate people on the dangers of smoking.
Kokoruda says that between the money the state gets from the cigarette tax and the money from the big tobacco settlement years ago, the state makes about half a billion dollars from smokers, and yet Connecticut spends only a tiny fraction of that on programs to try to get people to stop smoking.
Connecticut is last among the 50 states in anti-smoking education spending, according to Kokoruda. Her task force meets at 3 p.m. Wednesday to vote on its recommendations. Those will then be used in a bill that still has to get through the legislature and to the governor’s desk before it could become law.