Smoking while kids are in your car now illegal in Illinois

Smoking while kids are in your car now illegal in Illinois

By Peter Hancock
Capitol News Illinois

(Courtesy of Daily Herald)

It is now illegal in Illinois to smoke in a vehicle when anyone under age 18 is present.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Friday signed House Bill 2276, making it a petty offense to smoke in a vehicle in which there are children. That can result in a fine of up to $100 for a first violation and up to $250 for each subsequent violation.

Law enforcement officers are not allowed to issue tickets solely for violating the law, but they can issue the tickets if they pull a vehicle over for another violation. The law does not apply if the person smoking is a driver under 18 with no passengers.

If someone under 18 is in the vehicle with others, however, citations can be issued to anyone in the vehicle who is smoking, including the driver and any other passenger.

Earlier this year, Pritzker signed another bill into law, commonly known as “Tobacco 21,” which makes it illegal to sell or provide tobacco products to anyone younger than 21. That new law, however, removed an earlier prohibition against minors possessing or using tobacco products.

That means minors cannot be charged with an offense solely for smoking. But if they smoke in a vehicle in which other minors are present, they could be cited.

Proponents of the new law say it’s intended to reduce children’s exposure to secondhand smoke.

For purposes of the law, the word “smoke” means “to inhale, exhale, burn or carry a lighted cigarette, cigar, pipe, weed, plant, regulated narcotic, or other combustible substance.” The word “vehicle” does not include motorcycles.