Smoking in a car is now illegal in Illinois if there is a passenger under 18

Motorists in Illinois are facing a new law that places restrictions on smoking in cars.

On Friday, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a bill into law banning anyone from smoking in a car carrying a passenger under the age of 18, according to a statement.

Breaking the law, which is considered a petty offense, carries a fine of $100 for the first offense, and a potential $250 thereafter, the statement says.

Under the law, police can only issue the citation if a vehicle is pulled over for another violation, WLS-TV reported.

According to the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation, states with similar laws include Virginia and Vermont, which have banned smoking in cars with passengers under 8 and 9, respectively; Louisiana and Arkansas, under 13 and 14; Utah and Maine, both under 16; and California and Oregon, under 18.

Secondhand smoke contributes to a combined 41,000 deaths from heart and lung disease a year, the American Lung Association says.

“This new law will protect the health of our children. Breathing secondhand smoke causes several health issues in children, like sudden infant death syndrome, asthma, and ear infections, as well as wheezing, coughing and getting sick more often,” ALA representative Kathy Drea said, according to WAND.

The law will go into effect January 1, WJW reported.

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Dawson covers goings-on across the central region, from breaking to bizarre. She is an MSt candidate at the University of Cambridge and lives in Kansas City.