New Illinois law states drivers can get fined for smoking in car with minors

HB 2257 signed into law on Aug 23, 2019

Law prohibits smoking in car with kids in Illinois

ILLINOIS (KFVS) - If you smoke, then pay attention. A new law in Illinois says you will get fined if you smoke in a car with child under 18 years old, even if the vehicle is at rest.

One area doctor said it’s meant to benefit our children’s health. Board certified doctor Jeff Ripperda is with Shawnee Health Service. He said, the odds against a child’s health are high if they are around smoke.

“The more time a kids spends exposed to cigarette smoke, the higher risk they have of respiratory problems," he said. “That includes asthma, that includes pneumonia, that includes RSV, that includes bronchitis that includes the common cold,” Ripperda said.

Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker wants to stop that. He signed the on Aug. 23 banning smoking in a motor vehicle with a minor present.

Ripperda said while some may say this limits their freedom, he still believes this law is the right thing to do.

“The state has some financial responsibility to keeping your kids healthy," he said. "If your kids get sick and you have Medicaid, that money is not necessarily coming out of your pocket to pay their hospital bills or pay our health care bills, that money is coming from a state funded entity.”

Sgt. Doug Wilson with Carbondale Police said his department will be enforcing this law immediately.

“The purpose of it is to protect children from second hand smoke in a closed space like a car," he said. “It categorized as a petty offense, which is a fine only , like I said you will not go to jail for it but it will cost you some money,” Wilson said.

“Typically this law or similar laws to this are going to trigger some people to consider quitting smoking and probably some people to quit smoking, and even if nothing else comes out of this law, then that’s a good thing," added Ripperda.

If you’re caught, you’ll need to pay a fine up to $100 for the first offense, and $250 for the second.

“Smoke free cars” law first took effect in 2006. The one in 2011, that law protected passengers age 6 and under from second-hand smoke.

Then in 2009, an amendment to protect all ages under 18 failed to make it out of committee.

This new law take effect immediately.

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