02/19/2014 05:41 pm ET Updated Feb 19, 2014

Illinois Could Soon Become The Next State To Ban Smoking In Cars With Children Inside

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Another state could soon ban smokers from lighting up while in a car carrying passengers under the age of 18.

Illinois State Sen. Ira Silverstein, a Chicago Democrat, has proposed legislation (SB 2659) that would hit those who smoke with anyone under the age of 18 in the car with up to a $100 fine.

A vehicle could not be stopped solely as a result of violating the ban, according to bill's text.

Kathy Drea, vice president of advocacy of the American Lung Association's Illinois chapter, testified in front of the Senate's public health committee Tuesday. She said that drivers who light up put their passengers at risk of a smoking-related illness due to the harmful secondhand smoke being experienced within the confined space of a vehicle.

The bill is a "very simple thing that you can do to protect all of our children from a very serious health risk," Drea added, according to GateHouse Media.

No vote has yet been taken on the measure.

Six other states -- Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Maine, Oregon and Utah -- already have similar bans on the books, though the cutoff age for child passengers varies from state to state. Puerto Rico has also passed a ban.

The most recent state to pass the smoking ban was Oregon, where a ban went into effect on Jan. 1, 2014. Oregon's ban includes heftier fines of $250 for a first violation and $500 for additional instances.



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