BERRYVILLE, VA- Smokers beware. A bill moving through the Virginia Legislature could make it a crime to smoke in a vehicle with children.
The bill (SB975) passed the State Senate in a 30-10 vote. The bill says anyone over the age of 18 can be charged with a civil penalty if caught smoking with a minor in the car.
Some local parents feel the ban would be too strict.
"I think the state's going to far," says Warren Long, a Berryville grandfather. "I feel like you don't want your children inhaling the smoke, but I think it's up to the parent and not up to the state to tell people they can not smoke in their car."
Other parents say they greatly support the bill.
"I think that smoking should be banned altogether, actually," says one Berryville mother. "I don't think it's a bad idea. I think that second-hand smoke has been hurting kids for long enough."
The bill defines smoking as "carrying any lighted pipe, cigar, or cigarette of any kind."
The penalty would be $100 fine and can be written like regular traffic ticket for vehicles, moving or parked. It's not yet clear how the ban would be enforced, if it is signed into law. It's another reason why some people are skeptical.
"I just don't know how they're going to police it," says Naomi Long, a Berryville grandmother. "Unless you really see someone smoking as you're driving down the road, I don't know how they will police it. I really don't."
Still, some remain confident in the decision.
"I don't think it's fair for kids that have exposure to second-hand smoke," says a concerned mother. "They're getting things in their body that's detrimental to their health and they have no choice about it."
Governor McDonnell's office says he called the bill a bit of a "nanny state," but says he will consider it if it comes to his desk. Local Senator Jill Vogel voted in favor of the bill. It will now head to the Virginia House of Representatives.