Every year there are new state laws passed. A few new laws this year affect drivers. I have previously blogged about the new “hands-free” law for use of a cellular phone while driving. But, did you know that it is also now illegal to smoke in your car if you have a minor passenger? As of January 2008 Health & Safety Code Article 2.5 was added to Part 15 of Division 104 of the code making it a citable offense to smoke in your car while you have a passenger under the age of 18. This infraction carries a $100 fine and applies to cigars, cigarettes and pipes.
It appears from the legislative history of the bill that this law was motivated not by driving safety concerns but by second-hand smoke dangers to children. California is the most aggressive state in the county in passing laws restricting smoking.
I was pleased when smoking in most public building was prohibited. I was pleased to see airlines adopt a no smoking policy. I think it a bad idea to smoke at all, and especially around kids. But I must confess I get a little uneasy when the government starts restricting the use of a legal product in a private place. Why not ban smoking around children anywhere? Why not ban smoking all together? As a person with a family recently diagnosed with lung cancer I’m all for it. But as a lawyer I think the government may have stepped a little too far into some people’s personal liberties.