Connecticut reconsiders ban on smoking in cars with kids

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — It’s an issue that has come up many times before and been defeated, but lawmakers feel hopeful that the proposed law that would ban smoking in cars with children stands a much better chance this year.

Aden Abbatemarco may only be a sophomore in high school, but she’s already found an issue she’s passionate about and brought her concerns in front of legislators in the Public Health Committee Wednesday.

“Kids don’t get a say in how they’re treated necessarily, and sometimes their parents aren’t making the best decisions for their health,” Abbatemarco said.

The sophomore at E.O. Smith High School testified in favor of a bill that would ban smoking in vehicles that have a child six years or younger inside. She testified two years ago for the same issue, but the bill aimed at dangerous second-hand smoke failed to gain passage.

“Because it’s such a close and combined space, the smoke doesn’t really go anywhere,” Abbatemarco said. “And just because you open a window, or air vent or filter doesn’t get rid of the carcinogens or the toxins that are released when you smoke.”

Mansfield Representative Gregg Haddad is one of several co-sponsors on the bill.

“Minor children are going through a developmental phase,” said Haddad, D-Mansfield. “The intake of carcinogens at that age is particularly harmful. It seemed like a reasonable argument to me.”

Haddad thinks this year the bill may pass, although he admits that enforcement could be difficult and says it would be a secondary offense, most likely only noticed after a person is pulled over for a different infraction.

“That’s not uncommon for legislation to take more than a couple years to garner the support it needs to pass,” Haddad said.

If it passes out of committee, the bill will go in front of the entire House.

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