Blevins, Lucas vote to ban smoking in cars with kids

Published 10:05 am Friday, February 1, 2013


RICHMOND—The Virginia Senate today passed a bill 30-10 to prohibit smoking in a vehicle when a child under 15 is present.

Western Tidewater Sens. Harry Blevins, R-Chesapeake, and Louise Lucas, D-Portsmouth, supported the measure.

The bill now goes to the House for consideration. All of the Democrats and half of the Republicans in the Senate supported the bill.

Proposed by Sen. Ralph Northam, D-Virginia Beach, people who violate the proposed law would face a $100 fine.

Northam said the legislation was inspired by a third-grader who had told him that his parents smoke in the car with him.

“It will protect our children and improve their health and in the end hopefully cut down on health care costs,” Northam said.

His bill is one of three smoking bans still making their way through the General Assembly.

Another bill would ban smoking in health care facilities. It is awaiting a vote in the House General Laws Committee.

A bill in the Senate would give local governments the authority to ban smoking in public areas such as parks and beaches. The Senate Local Government Committee approved this proposal, 11-4; it is now before the full Senate.