Smoking in your car with a child could soon cost you.
The Honolulu City Council passed Bill 70 in a unanimous vote Wednesday, which would make it illegal to smoke in a vehicle with someone under 18 inside.
The ban would also apply to electronic cigarettes.
Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell has 10 business days to sign the bill into law. The law would go into effect immediately upon his signing.
Council chairman Ron Menor says council members passed the bill because they recognized the harmful effects of cigarettes.
“The council also moved this measure because it’s consistent with measures the legislative body has passed with regards to smoking at beaches, bus stops,” he said.
The fine if you’re caught smoking in a vehicle with a minor present would be $100 for your first offense.
It would cost $200 for your second offense within one year of the first time you were caught, and up to $500 if you were caught a third time within a year of your prior offense.
The ticket goes to the person smoking in the vehicle.
“HPD, which testified in favor, indicated they’ll do the best to enforce it. Police officers would be on the lookout for people smoking in vehicles,” Menor said.
Lila Johnson, program manager for tobacco prevention at the Department of Health, says young people are the most vulnerable to be exposed to secondhand smoke.
“It is probably 10 times as toxic as it is to be sitting inside a smoky bar for a child to be sitting inside a confined unit exposed to secondhand smoke,” Johnson said.
Johnson says this bill is all about protecting the next generation: “Clean air is the standard and it’s to encourage parents and anybody who is with a young child in a car not to smoke in an automobile with them.”
Health officials note that the bill does not say you can’t smoke in your car. It only bans smoking in vehicles with a minor present.
The city is also working with its partners to get the message out so that people will know when this goes into effect so they can adhere to the law.