The Maryland Senate voted 27 to 20 on Wednesday to ban smoking in cars when there is a passenger younger than age 8.
Supporters of the bill, sponsored by Sen. Robert A. Zirkin (D-Baltimore County), argued that the health effects of second-hand smoke on young children are particularly detrimental in cars, and that children have no say about being there.
Drivers who violate the provision would be subject to a $50 fine.
Opponents, including Senate Minority Leader E.J. Pipkin (R-Cecil), have called the bill another step toward Maryland becoming a “nanny state.”
During Wednesday’s debate, Sen. Katherine Klausmeier (D-Baltimore County) said she understands that it is “not healthy whatsoever” to expose a child to cigarette smoke in a car.
But Klausmeier said she was voting against the bill because she feared it would not make much of a difference.
“I would prefer advertisements and education over this bill,” she said.
The bill now moves to the House, where a similar measure died last year.