Among the new laws going into effect in the new year is a ban on smoking in cars with minors present, according to a press release.
Oregon drivers caught smoking cigarettes with children in the car now face a penalty up to $250 under the new state law. As of Jan. 1, smoking in a motor vehicle with a person under the age of 18 present is a secondary traffic violation.
The law stemmed from health dangers associated with secondhand smoke, and its concentrations within the confined spaces of a passenger car.
Secondhand cigarette smoke is deemed a Group A carcinogen by the Environmental Protection Agency, and is especially harmful to the developing lungs of children.
Studies report that rolling car windows down does not protect passengers from dangerous levels of passenger smoke. A Harvard School of Public Health study from 2006 indicated that secondhand smoke levels exceeded hazardous levels on the EPA’s Air Quality Index even with windows slightly or wide open.
Police officers will be able to ticket smokers for violating this law if they stop the driver for a separate traffic violation or other offense. A first offense may garner up to $250 for a first offense and up to $500 for a second or subsequent offenses.
More information on quitting tobacco can be found at www.quitnow.net/Oregon.