14.04.2024

Alabama becomes first state to ban VAPING inside vehicles where minors are present

Alabamans who vape in their car while a child is present could be fined $100 as part of a new law. The Republican state is the first in America to outlaw the use of e-cigarettes in enclosed spaces with kids under 14 present.

It comes amid growing evidence that vaping poses similar risks to the user as normal cigarettes. A study last month also exposed the harms of second-hand vapor.

An estimated one in 10 American adults regularly vape, the equivalent of about 30 million people, according to official data, and in Alabama it is one in 11.

Alabama’s new law would levy a penalty amount to $100 against anyone in a car found to be smoking or vaping in the presence of a child

As of August 1, any Alabama driver or passenger who is pulled over for a traffic violation and is found to have been vaping in the company of a child under 14 will be penalized regardless of whether the windows were down or if the car was stopped.

The law applies to vaping e-cigarettes packed with nicotine as well as traditional cigarettes.

Alabama's new law would levy a penalty amount to $100 against anyone in a car found to be smoking or vaping in the presence of a child

While there is no tobacco in e-cigarettes, only nicotine, officials at the state and federal levels classify all nicotine-containing products including vapes as tobacco products, which are subject to the same restrictions.

The Alabama Department of Public Health said: ‘Children’s smaller bodies take in a larger amount of air, so tobacco smoke is particularly hazardous to them.

‘To protect children riding in your vehicle, do not let anyone smoke. Rolling down windows does not protect them.

‘Smoking or vaping in an enclosed vehicle with children is a secondary violation. This means that if a driver is pulled over for another reason and a child is present, fines are up to $100.’

The first-of-its-kind law comes amid growing acceptance vape plumes contain microscopic toxins known as particulate matter small enough that when inhaled can cause respiratory issues and enter the bloodstream.

Far more is known about the harmful effects of inhaling cigarette smoke laden with over 7,000 types of toxic chemicals and carcinogens.

Brief exposure to secondhand cigarette smoke is enough to raise a child’s risk of developing respiratory problems, cognitive and heart issues, and sudden infant death syndrome.

There was a time in the mid-2000s to 2010s when e-cigarettes were considered a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes.

The vapor produced by e-cigarettes is sometimes odorless and non-offensive or fruity- or sweet-smelling.

In fact, vapes were deemed safe enough to be used in indoor public places, even hospitals, for a brief window of time.

But scientists are becoming increasingly aware of the possible health risks attached to breathing in the seemingly harmless plumes from e-cigarettes.

Scientists from universities in Virginia and North Carolina recently reported that when e-cigarette users puffed in their cars for less than just 10 minutes, the air around them became laden with possibly poisonous particulate matter known specifically as PM2.5 (denoting a diameter of 2.5 micrometers or smaller).

When the particulate matter is inhaled, it penetrates the lungs and irritates the entire respiratory system, possibly causing or worsening asthma, bronchitis, and heavy wheezing.

Secondhand smoke from combustible cigarettes, meanwhile, is a known cause of sudden infant death syndrome, respiratory infections, ear infections, and asthma attacks in infants and children.

It also paves the way to heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer in adult nonsmokers.

Each year exposure to secondhand smoke causes more than 41,000 deaths from lung cancer and heart disease among non-smoking adults and 400 deaths from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, according to the 2014 Surgeon General’s Report.

The Mobile, Alabama Police Department said about the new law: ‘Protecting our children’s health is a shared responsibility. Secondhand smoke and vapor can harm their well-being, and this law ensures a safer environment.’

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