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Queens Legislators Call for Smoking Ban in Cars with Minors

Stavisky and Weprin bill would make it illegal to light up in vehicles in which youths, ages 14 and below, are riding.

State Sen. Toby Stavisky, D-Forest Hills, and state Assemblyman David Weprin, D-Little Neck, are calling for the state to prohibit smoking in vehicles in which minors are present and fine violators up to $100.

Under the bill, smoking in passenger cars, vans or trucks would be illegal when youths, ages 14 and below, are present.

“It is of upmost importance to protect our children, whose bodies are still developing and who often do not have a voice of their own,” Weprin said.

The legislation would extend the Clean Indoor Act, which was enacted to prevent smoking in city restaurants. In November, smoking was also .

“It will help children breathe clean air while they are riding in automobiles,” Stavisky said. “There is no constitutional right to smoke. It is not a protected activity.”

Health advocates who support the legislation said it would help to prevent children from being exposed to secondhand smoke as well as long-term diseases, such as asthma and cancer.

“Because their lungs are so much smaller, secondhand smoke is even more dangerous to children,” said Jeff Seyler, chief executive officer of the American Lung Association in New York.

Jerry Iannece, chairman of Community Board 11, said he thought the bill was a good idea.

“If you’re smoking by yourself, it’s a different story,” he said. “But kids shouldn’t be subjected to smoke in a confined area. Kids that are 14 and under don’t always have the choice to make whether they want to be in a smoke free environment.”

Audrey Silk February 15, 2012 at 07:28 AM
Let me preface my remark by saying I have not looked up these two's records and I am not taking a position on the analogy I'm about to argue. Assumptions due to party affiliation and the point of my analogy being the astounding hypocrisy I wish someone from the media would ask these two to explain the following more than likely glaring contradiction. To wit, in support of this ban, Weprin says, "It is of upmost importance to protect our children, whose bodies are still developing and who often do not have a voice of their own.” But they also (I assume) support abortion. Non-sequitur. If they believe it's an adult's right to choose what to do with their OWN children (abortion) it makes them sound like clowns now. Also, please have them explain the difference between a private car and private home and when can I expect them there? Founder, NYC Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment (C.L.A.S.H.)
Michael February 15, 2012 at 04:00 PM
I don't know how to respond to this without offending people and their "rights". All I will write is if one hand is on a ciggy and not on the wheel then the argument can be made that is just as dangerous to other people on the road as holding a cell phone. That is how you pass this legislation without infringing on people's rights to smoke in their car and possibly destroy their child's lungs. God forbid we protect the kids. So there, don't smoke in your car because you can not be concentrating on the road or be in full control of your car if you are smoking. Now your rights as Americans are not in any conflict.
Iris Orzeck February 15, 2012 at 04:36 PM
I am a smoker and a very respectable smoker of those around me, but enough is enough. Mind your own household and I will mind mine. There are way more important issues concerning the towns you represent, and if you dont see them you need to go.
Audrey Silk February 16, 2012 at 02:04 AM
Though I understand the "cleverness" you're trying to employ I still cannot let go that the cellphone ban is not about "holding" a phone. It's about talking on the phone. But back to the point. It's only mass hysteria that leads to false statements such as "destroy their child's lungs." No such thing is happening. The hysteria over this falsehood allows to think there's some difference between parents who don't put hats and sunscreen on their kids (risking skin cancer!) or let them watch too much TV and play too much video games (obesity from inactivity!) or let their kids seeing them drink a few beers during Sunday football (what kind of message is that?!?). NONE of that is ANY different than the smoking issue and yet no one considers that "abuse" because you've all been brainwashed by a 40 year campaign. If there was a 40 year campaign against any of the others then THAT'S what you'd have followed like lemmings to cry "abuse" about. I'll end by being as "clever" as you "logically"... Ban a distraction? What's a greater distraction than little kids carrying on in a car? Ban the kids!
Michael February 16, 2012 at 01:00 PM
Well played Audrey. Well played.

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