Vehicles with kids – international overview

Summary: Laws prohibiting smoking in vehicles carrying children have been adopted in the Canadian provinces/territories of Nova Scotia, Ontario, British Columbia and the Yukon Territory, the Canadian municipalities of Wolfville (Nova Scotia), Surrey (British Columbia) and Okotoks (Alberta), the U.S. states of California, Maine, Arkansas, and Louisiana, the U.S. municipalities of Bangor (Maine), Keyport (New Jersey), West Long Branch Borough (New Jersey) and Rockland County (New York), as well as South Africa, Puerto Rico and the Australian states of South Australia and Tasmania.  In Canada, the provinces Prince Edward Island (draft bill announced) and Manitoba (announcement by Premier) are moving forward with legislation.  In Australia, the Governments of the Australian Capital Territory and the states of Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales are also considering bringing forward such legislation.3  In the U.S., bills are currently before several U.S. state legislatures.

Listed below are the jurisdictions, the applicable age, the date of coming into force, and the date the law was adopted. Applicable age refers to under the age, thus “19″ (for example) means that smoking is prohibited in a vehicle carrying someone under age 19.

In Arkansas, a car seat is required when a child is less than six years of age and weighs less than sixty pounds (per s. 27-34-104(b) of the Arkansas State Code).

Louisiana Revised Statue 32:295 sets out various rules for car seat and seat belt use that apply to all child passengers up to and including age 12.

For the state of New South Wales, see “Smoking ban to hit parents in NSW cars” The Daily Telegraph, Nov. 9, 2007.

For the Australian Capital Territory, see Media Release, Jon Stanhope, Chief Minister, Australian Capital Territory, June 6, 2007:

For Queensland, see Queensland Government Joint Statement, Premier – The Honourable Anna Bligh, Minister for Health – The Honourable Stephen Robertson, “Bligh Government toughens anti-smoking legislation” May 26, 2008; see also “Bligh bans smoking in cars with kids”, The Daily Telegraph, May 26, 2008:

For Victoria, see “MP introduces bill to ban youth smoking”, ABC News, June 12, 2008:  Bill 65, Tobacco (Control of Tobacco Effects on Minors) Bill 2007 (see section 4), This bill was adopted by the Legislative Council on June 25, 2008, followed by the Legislative Assembly returning the bill back to the Legislative Council with a message that the bill seeks an appropriation from the Consolidated Fund.

On Thursday Nov. 27, Manitoba’s Minister of Infrastructure and Transportation, Ron Lemieux, introduced Bill 5, The Highway Traffic Amendment Act (Promoting Safer and Healthier Conditions in Motor Vehicles).  The bill would ban smoking in vehicles carrying children under age 16, with the bill to come into effect on a date to be fixed by proclamation.   Four provinces/territories have banned smoking in vehicles carrying children: Yukon (age 18); B.C. (age 16); Ontario (age 16), N.S. (age 19).  A draft bill was tabled for comment in PEI (age 19).


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