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Tempe Could Be First AZ City to Ban Smoking with Kids in Car

PHOTO: Tempe City Council is considering an ordinance that would make it illegal to smoke with a child in the car, which would make it Arizona's first city to pass such a law. Image courtesy City of Tempe.
PHOTO: Tempe City Council is considering an ordinance that would make it illegal to smoke with a child in the car, which would make it Arizona's first city to pass such a law. Image courtesy City of Tempe.
April 29, 2015

TEMPE, Ariz. - Tempe could become Arizona's first city to ban smoking with children in the car.

City Council member David Schapira said he's a supporter of the proposed ordinance that would make it illegal for the driver or any passenger in a motor vehicle to smoke cigarettes, e-cigarettes, pipes or cigars when a person younger than age 18 is in that motor vehicle.

"Exposure to secondhand smoke - especially in that closed, confined small proximity - is damaging, is dangerous," he said. "And so, as many other states, municipalities and counties across the country have done, we're looking to ban that practice in Tempe."

Schapira said a first offense fine would be $50 for each child in the car, with fines increasing to $100 for subsequent violations. The law also would require that it be a secondary violation, meaning the police pulled the car over for another reason, such as speeding or running a red light.

According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, secondhand smoke can cause children to suffer bronchitis and pneumonia, ear infections, more frequent and severe asthma attacks. It even has been linked to a greater risk of sudden infant death syndrome.

Council member Kolby Granville, who also supports the ordinance, said Tempe has a progressive history on smoking policy.

"Tempe was one of the first, if not the first in the state, to ban smoking in bars and restaurants," he said. "We recently banned e-cigarettes as well, in the sense that we now consider them to be like cigarettes - so you can't 'vape' in a bar or restaurant."

He predicted the ordinance will pass, with strong and perhaps unanimous support, and become law later this summer.

Troy Wilde, Public News Service - AZ