On Friday August 23, 2019, Governor Pritzker signed into law House Bill 2276, effectively amending the Illinois Vehicle Code and making it illegal for anyone to smoke in a car containing a person under 18 years of age. Specifically, it will be illegal for anyone to inhale, exhale, burn, or carry a lighted cigarette, cigar, pipe, weed, plant, regulated narcotic, or other combustible substance while a minor is in the car. The law applies whether the car is moving or stationary and regardless of whether windows and/or doors are open.
The new law went into effect immediately and calls for a fine up to $100 for a first offense and up to $250 for a second offense. Interestingly, although this law prohibits smoking in a car with a minor, it also specifies that a police officer may not stop a vehicle solely on the suspicion someone is smoking with a minor in the car. This means that law enforcement must have an independent reason for the initial traffic stop.
Illinois has been taking increasing steps against underage tobacco exposure and use. Recently, Illinois became the first Midwest state to prohibit the sale of tobacco or e-cigarette products to anyone under the age of 21. Advocates of the new laws believe they will help in reducing children’s contact with secondhand smoke and prevent children and young adults from becoming future smokers themselves.
For more information regarding Illinois’ ever-changing legal landscape or other matters, contact Sherer Law Offices at (618) 692-6656.
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