LITTLE ROCK, AR - This year will mark the fifth anniversary of legislation aimed at creating smoke-free environments in businesses and vehicles transporting children. On Wednesday, July 27th at the State Capitol, second floor Rotunda, the Coalition for a Tobacco Free Arkansas (CTFA) and its partners joined with legislators and public health advocates to celebrate the institution of Acts 8 and 13, as well as commemorate Act 811 of 2011, the new law that expands the current smoke-free cars law.
Act 8 of 2006, commonly referenced as the Arkansas Clean Indoor Air Act, prohibits smoking in certain indoor areas to protect workers. Act 13 of 2006, known as the “Arkansas Protection for Secondhand Smoke for Children Act” prohibits smoking in all motor vehicles where a child of less than 6 years and weighing less than sixty pounds and be properly restrained in a child passenger safety seat. Effective July 27th, Act 13 will be expanded by a new smoke-free cars law, Act 811 of 2011.
Signed into law March 30, 2011 by Governor Mike Beebe, Act 811 of 2011 increases the age limit from 6 years of age up to 14 years whereby 73.5% of Arkansas’ children will be covered by the smoke-free cars law, up from the 37% of youth covered by Act 13. Act 811 allows Arkansas law enforcement to help protect young children by stopping drivers seen smoking in a car with a child present. A ticket, which currently carries a $25 fine.
“Secondhand smoke kills more than 50,000 non-smokers in the U.S. each year. Children who are exposed to secondhand smoke are inhaling many of the same cancer-causing substances and poison as smokers,” stated Katherine Donald, Executive Director, Coalition for a Tobacco Free Arkansas.
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