Among the many bills that died Friday, the last day of conference committee at the Hawaii Legislature, was a measure that would have forbidden smoking in a motor vehicle when people under 18 are present.

Senate Bill 2083 was sponsored and written by Sen. Suzanne Chun Oakland.

Secondhand smoke typically contains at least seven thousand identifiable chemicals, around seventy of which are known or probable carcinogens,” the bill stated, which added, “children breathe in more air than adults because their lungs are still developing.” More accurately, children’s lungs are more sensitive to chemicals in the air they breathe.

Under the bill, anyone who violated the law would have been fined $100.

Breathe deep, keiki, breath deep.
Breathe deep, keiki, breathe deep. Flickr: Kyle Hovey

The state Department of Health would have been required to report to the Legislature on how enforcement was working out.

Among those supporting the legislation as it moved through the House and Senate were the Department of Health, the County of Kauai Office of the Prosecuting Attorney, the County of Hawaii Office of the Prosecuting Attorney, the Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawaii and the American Heart Association.

The Hawaii Smokers Alliance and many individuals opposed the measure, however, arguing that the bill violated civil rights.

This bill is completely unfair since the so called health ‘dangers’ of passive smoking lack credibility,” the alliance argued, stating that use of e-cigarettes has also not been proven harmful.

That said, the harmful effects of nicotine and other components of tobacco smoke on passive smokers, including elevated risks of lung cancer and respiratory illnesses, have been extensively and thoroughly documented.

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