TORONTO (Reuters) - Smokers in the Canadian province of Ontario will be fined C$250 ($247) for lighting up in their cars in the presence of children, if a new law introduced on Wednesday is passed.
Under the proposed ban, drivers or passengers found smoking in a car carrying children under the age of 16 would be fined, even if a window is open.
The province of Nova Scotia, the Yukon territory and a handful of U.S. states have already banned smoking in cars with children. Like many other jurisdictions Ontario bans smoking in the workplace and in public places such as restaurants.
The new Ontario legislation won praise from the Canadian Cancer Society, which called it an important step in protecting children’s health.
“We’re hoping for the legislation to come to fruition as quickly as possible because it’s for the good of all Ontario children,” said Rick Byun, a spokesman for provincial Health Promotion Minister Margarett Best.
Second-hand smoke in cars can be up to 27 times more concentrated than in a smoker’s home, according to research by the state of California’s Air Resources Board.
Reporting by Lara Hertel