The Maryland Senate passed a bill Wednesday that would ban smoking in vehicles carrying children younger than age 8.
Members voted 27-19 to approve the bill, which would fine drivers as much as $50 if they or a passenger are caught smoking in a vehicle carrying a young child. The legislation will now move to the House.
Supporters argue the bill will protect children from secondhand smoke, which studies have shown is linked to asthma and other longterm ailments in children.
Opponents contend the proposal intrudes on driver's behavior inside their personal vehicles and could lead to future legislation that would ban parents from smoking at home or feeding unhealthy foods to their children.
Under the bill, smoking in a car would be a primary offense, allowing police to pull over suspected violators without observing any other illegal activity. It would not be considered a moving violation.
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