Alberni District Secondary students are hoping to have smoking banned in cars across the city.
Three students from Anne Oswald’s Social Studies 11 class came to tell city council about their proposal on Monday night.
“The smoking in vehicles bylaw was created to make smoking both tobacco and marijuana products in vehicles illegal,” said student Julia Davenport.
According to the students’ proposed bylaw, vehicle owners and occupants may not:
• Smoke tobacco or marijuana with passengers in a vehicle;
• Smoke tobacco or marijuana in a moving vehicle;
• Smoke in a vehicle without proper ventilation;
• keep an ashtray inside a vehicle.
In addition, smokers must stop before smoking, dispose of all ashes immediately after smoking and refrain from smoking in even a stopped vehicle unless all passengers give consent. Failure to do so is proposed to have a $50 fine.
The class came up with the bylaw due to the harmful effects of secondhand smoke.
“This bylaw is necessary because secondhand smoke has been shown to cause many serious health problems,” said Pharyn Frank.
“The National Toxicology Program estimates that at least 250 chemicals in secondhand smoke are known to be carcinogenic or toxic. Also, adults with asthma can experience a decline in lung function while new cases of asthma may be induced in children.”
According to researchers, a confined space like a car only amplifies the air pollution levels.
“A small contained space like a car can also produce dangerous air quality levels. Canadian researchers found that a single cigarette smoked in a car produces secondhand smoke 15 times higher than the levels found in the EPA’s hazardous rating,” Frank said, adding that even with a window open, secondhand smoke levels quickly reach twice the safe amount.
Smoking in vehicles also causes distraction, Frank said.