December 14, 2014
by Tony Casey
In 2007, the Non-Smokers Protection Act was enacted by the state, disallowing smoking in most places, including workplaces, but still allowed smoking in places like bars where only people over 21 years old are permitted.
And, unlike Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Maine, Oregon, Utah, Vermont and the commonwealth of Puerto Rico, where it is illegal to smoke in a vehicle that contains a child, Tennessee has no law of this sort on its books, which East Tennessee State University Assistant Professor of Public Health Hadii M. Mamudu says greatly affects children who ride in smoke-filled vehicles. The age laws in each of those places range from 8 in Vermont to 18 in California and Oregon.
The age of the riders in these vehicles is key to Mamudu, who says their biological systems are still developing, making them vulnerable to the 7,000-plus carcinogens found in cigarettes. The effects of secondhand smoke in an enclosed area like a car are 10 times as dangerous as if it occurred in an open space. And that’s not to mention the long-lasting effects of exposure.