US Lawmaker Sought Smoking Ban in Car With Kids

by VR Sreeraman on Aug 16 2007 12:35 PM

A lawmaker from New York City, which already has some of the world's toughest anti-smoking rules, wants to ban people from lighting up in a car if there are children present, a report said Wednesday.

City Councilman James Gennaro has teamed up with anti-smoking activists to present the smoke-free auto proposal, the New York Post reported on its website. "We want to continue to fight to denormalize smoking," the Democratic lawmaker told the newspaper.

"Cigarette smoke has over 4,000 chemicals in it, and 150 of them are known to be poisonous," Gennaro, chairman of the city council's Environmental Protection Committee, said.

The plan would subject smokers in cars with children present to fines of about 200 dollars, according to the Post.

"Kids shouldn't be around smoking, period, but in cars it's particularly egregious. This provides an opportunity to give kids a break when they are in the car," Gennaro said.

Nobody at Gennaro's office was immediately available to comment.

New York authorities introduced one of the world's most aggressive anti-smoking policies in 2003, when former smoker Mayor Michael Bloomberg banned tobacco use in bars, restaurants and offices.

A report by the city health department last December showed that the number of smoking-related deaths recorded each year had fallen from almost 9,000 in 2001 to just under 8,100 in 2005.

The number of smokers in the city had meanwhile fallen by around 200,000 from 2002, officials said.