Smoking in cars with children now illegal in Illinois

Violations can result in fines of $100 to $250

SHARE Smoking in cars with children now illegal in Illinois
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Sen. Julie Morrison, D-Deerfield, shown here during a news conference Feb. 5 at the Capitol in Springfield, was the Senate sponsor of a bill signed into law last week that makes it illegal to smoke in a vehicle when someone younger than 18 is present.

Peter Hancock/Capitol News Illinois file photo by Peter Hancock

SPRINGFIELD — It is now illegal in Illinois to smoke in a vehicle in which a minor child is present.

Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Friday signedHouse Bill 2276 into law making it a petty offense to smoke in a vehicle in which there are one or more children under age 18. That can result in a fine of up to $100 for a first violation, and up to $250 for each subsequent violation.

Law enforcement officers are not allowed to issue tickets solely for violating the law, but they can issue tickets if they pull a vehicle over for some other violation. The law also does not apply if the person smoking is a minor who is the sole occupant of the vehicle.

If a minor is present in the vehicle, however, citations can be issued to anyone in the vehicle who is smoking, including the driver and any other passenger.

Earlier this year, Pritzker signed another bill into law, commonly known as “Tobacco 21,” which makes it illegal to sell or provide tobacco products to anyone younger than 21. That new law, however, removed an earlier prohibition against minors possessing or using tobacco products.

That means minors cannot be charged with an offense solely for smoking. But if they smoke in a vehicle in which other minors are present, they could be cited for violating the new law banning smoking around minors in vehicles.

Proponents of the new law say it’s intended to reduce children’s exposure to secondhand smoke.

For purposes of the law, the word “smoke” means, “to inhale, exhale, burn or carry a lighted cigarette, cigar, pipe, weed, plant, regulated narcotic, or other combustible substance.” The word “vehicle” does not include motorcycles.

The bill was sponsored by Rep. Jonathan Carrol, D-Northbrook, and Sen. Julie Morrison, D-Deerfield.

It passed the Senate by a vote of 42-10 on May 29. It passed the House by a vote of 97-14 on June 1.

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