A 5-year-old Maine ban on smoking in vehicles when children are present is barely being enforced.
The Bangor Daily News
surveyed several police agencies and found that few smokers have been either cited or given warnings.
The city of Bangor, which enacted the law a year before a similar state law took effect, has charged three drivers over six years, the newspaper said.
Despite the low enforcement, the law has raised awareness and spread to other states, according to Bangor City Councilor Pat Blanchette.
"Some people just had to be reminded, and it works," Blanchette told the Daily News.
Other states that ban smoking in cars with children include Arkansas, California, Louisiana, and Oregon.
The nonprofit Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids says there is limited research specific to children, secondhand smoke, and vehicles.
But, the group added, there is overwhelming evidence of the harm associated with exposure to secondhand smoke specific to children and enclosed environments.
"Results of epidemiologic studies provide evidence that exposure of children to environmental tobacco smoke is associated with increased rates of lower-respiratory illness and increased rates of middle-ear effusion, asthma, and sudden infant death syndrome," the group said.
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