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Experts remind drivers vaping not immune to California smoking l - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Experts remind drivers vaping not immune to California smoking laws

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Smoking in the car with a child is against the law, but what about new forms of smoking such as vaping?

The law has been in effect since 2008, and it bans the smoking of any cigarette in a moving or parked vehicle while a child is inside.

Children are the most vulnerable to the harmful effects of secondhand smoke. That's why it's illegal to smoke in cars when children 17 years of age and younger are present.

“We can’t pull them over solely based on that observation. We have to have another vehicle code violation to pull them over so we can’t utilize that code section for the initial stop, but if we do stop them and observe that violation, we can cite them for it,” said Capt. Chris Staley, San Luis Obispo Police Department.

Health experts say children are more susceptible to the dangers of secondhand smoke because their bodies are still developing.

“Children breathe in more air because their lungs are still developing,” explained Dawnette Smith with Fighting Back Santa Maria Valley.

Some problems a child can develop include ear infections, asthma, and even respiratory tract infections, such as pneumonia and bronchitis.

What about smoking marijuana or e-cigarettes while in a vehicle?

Smoking marijuana is not included in this law, a separate law that went into effect on Jan. 1, 2018 bans smoking or ingesting any marijuana products while behind the wheel.

As for electronic smoking devices, according to Smith, e-cigarettes are considered tobacco products under California law, meaning it is also against the law for someone to smoke electronic devices in the car with a minor passenger.

“We are hoping that they don’t do it in their vehicle but of course we have concerns if they are doing it in their homes as well. It’s just one of those things where, hopefully, parents are being responsible and concerned about their child’s health,” Capt. Staley added.

If a driver is observed smoking and is cited, it is a $100 fine.

According to Tobacco Free California, secondhand smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals and at least 70 of those are known to cause cancer.

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