Fla. lawmakers look to ban smoking in car with kids

8 states already have smoking bans in private vehicles when child is present

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Nationwide, more than one-third of all children live with a smoker. State lawmakers are looking to stomp out secondhand smoke in one place.

Eight states have smoking bans in private vehicles when a child is present. Florida lawmakers are pushing to make the Sunshine State the next on the list.

"Smoking, it's been demonstrated as certainly harmful for people's health," said Sen. Rob Bradley (R-Orange Park).

Six out of every 10 children are exposed to secondhand smoke, according to health experts. State lawmakers now say a change is needed to protect those under 18.

"We have a responsibility, I think, as a society, to protect our children who cannot make these decisions about whether to smoke or not," said Bradley.

Registered nurse Sandy Grischy said secondhand smoke is dangerous, especially for those still in the developmental stage.

"Carcinogens are those pieces that affect our DNA and that's where the potential for cancer arises," said Grischy.

Secondhand smoke is responsible for nearly 300,000 cases of bronchitis and pneumonia annually, health experts say.

Grischy is working to educate Floridians on the dangers of secondhand smoke.

"Someone who's in a car for about an hour, if someone's smoking a cigarette and they're not, it's equivalent to smoking about three cigarettes," said Grischy.

One loophole in the proposal is police would have to stop someone for something else before they could be ticketed for smoking in a car with a child present.

Another anti-smoking bill would give local authorities the ability to ban smoking at playgrounds when a child is present.