Alabama law bans smoking, vaping inside vehicles where minors present
Published 10:44 am Monday, August 14, 2023
Alabama legislators passed a new law this year which strictly prohibits the use of smoked tobacco products and e-cigarettes in a vehicle where a child under fourteen years old is a passenger.
In a statement from ADPH released on Aug. 7, Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) District Medical Officer Dr. Wes Stubblefield urged Alabama residents to take steps toward kicking nicotine, offering resources to those who have made the decision to stop smoking.
Stubblefield, who was a practicing pediatrician for over fourteen years before accepting his position with ADPH, praised lawmakers for making strides to mitigate the risks of secondhand smoke to the youth in Alabama.
Email newsletter signup
“Exhaled smoke from cigarettes or vape products can have detrimental effects to the health of those around them,” Stubblefield said. “This legislation is an important step in protecting the health of Alabama’s children.”
House Bill 3 (HB3), sponsored by Alabama State Representative Rolanda Hollis, was introduced on Jan. 20 and swiftly passed through the House and Senate, being signed into law only three months later on Apr. 4.
Hollis has been diligently pursuing legislation surrounding secondhand smoke for over six years and assures Alabama residents that her ultimate goal is not to control smoking in adults of legal age to do so.
“This is about protecting kids” Hollis emphasized.
Ann Keen, Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner at Greenville Pediatrics, voiced her support of HB3’s passing and placed emphasis on the serious, harmful, and sometimes deadly effects that secondhand smoke presents to pediatric patients.
“According to the CDC statement in November 2022, there is NO safe exposure to secondhand smoke,” Keen stressed. “Children exposed to secondhand smoke experience frequent respiratory infections such as pneumonia and bronchitis, ear infections, more frequent and severe asthma, respiratory symptoms, and slowed lung growth. Even more significant, infants exposed to secondhand smoke are more likely to die from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Chemicals in secondhand smoke appear to affect the brain in ways that interfere with its regulation of infants’ breathing and cause higher levels of nicotine and cotinine in infants who die of SIDS.”
The newly passed law stipulates that smoking products, including vapes, are not to be used in any vehicle carrying a child. Infringement is punishable whether the vehicle is in motion or at rest, whether the windows of the vehicle are up or down, and applies to all passengers inside the vehicle.
Lawmakers deemed smoking with a child under fourteen in the vehicle as a secondary violation, punishable with fines up to $100. Secondary violations are those in which a law enforcement officer has initiated a lawful traffic stop, then determines there is probable cause that an individual has committed a separate infringement in addition to the primary violation.
To receive confidential information, referrals, and counseling on how to stop smoking, individuals are encouraged to call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669), text QUIT to 205-900-2550, or visit https://quitnowalabama.com/.