Conn. Lawmakers Consider Car Smoking Ban

By Jeff Saperstone
|  Tuesday, Feb 19, 2013  |  Updated 7:58 AM PDT
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A Connecticut state representative looks to ban smoking in cars where a child is present.

A Connecticut state representative looks to ban smoking in cars where a child is present.

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Connecticut lawmakers are considering a state law to make smoking in cars illegal if there is a child under 7 years old inside.

Smoking is already banned in restaurants and businesses in Connecticut and some parents welcome broadening the ban to protect children in cars. 

"We want our kids to be in safe places, always," parent Chris Liss, of Granby, told NBC Connecticut.

A 2006 Harvard University study of smoking in cars shows that even with the windows slightly opened, a single cigarette can produce hazardous levels of contaminants. 

"It's going to help," said Rep. Henry Genga, the bill's sponsor. "No question about it."

But opponents are concerned that a new law may be too intrusive and wonder how it will be enforced. Genga said he has supporters in the law enforcement community who tell him it will be as easy to enforce as the seatbelt law.

The first time someone is caught, they will get a warning. The second time will involve a penalty.

"When you put a child in, you have a responsibility," Genga said. "The right thing to do is to take care of that child."

Lawmakers on the transportation committee will hold a public hearing on the bill Wednesday morning.

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