New Law Effective 1/1/08
Senate Bill 7 took effect yesterday to make it an infraction in the State of California to smoke a cigarette, cigar or pipe in a motor vehicle when a minor (under 18 years old) is in the car, whether the car is moving or stopped. The fine for this infraction is up to $100 per occurrence.
The law prohibits a cop from stopping you for the sole purpose of determining whether you were breaking this law. So rest assured, smokers, as long as you are not breaking any other laws, you may be off the hook while blowing fumes in your 9 year old's face.
The law spells out "to smoke" as having a lighted pipe, cigar, cigarette containing tobacco or any other plant. Maybe a creative type can figure out a way around this definition!
Another Second-Hand Smoke Law
Since we're talking about second-hand smoke around kids, were you aware that for over 6 years now it has been illegal to smoke or toss cigarette butts within 25 feet of any public playgrounds or "tot lot sandbox" areas?
The California Health and Safety Code Section 104495 makes such acts illegal and punishable by a $250 fine per infraction. The law also makes it illegal to intimidate, threaten or retaliate against anyone seeking enforcement of this law.
There is one exception to this law...you are allowed to smoke on a public sidewalk that is within 25 feet of the playground or sandbox where your kids are happily playing.
From Smoking to Littering
But watch your butt(s). Section 13002 of the Code makes it a misdemeanor to throw a lighted or unlighted cigarette onto any sidewalk or public location. The fine ranges from $100 to $1000 per violation.
And California Penal Code Section 374.4 covers all types of littering on public or private property (though generally you're allowed to litter on your own property as long as it isn't out of hand), making it an infraction punishable from $250 up to $3000 per violation.