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Senate bill would prohibit smoking in cars with minors under 16

By Roger Adkins, Charleston Gazette-Mail

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia Senate approved legislation Monday aimed at prohibiting smoking in motor vehicles when a minor 16 years of age or younger is present.

Senate Bill 378, which amends state code to include this restriction, sparked some debate before it was approved 25-8, with one senator not voting or abstaining. The legislation now heads to the House of Delegates.

The bill defines “lit tobacco product” and “motor vehicle,” and designates the violation as a secondary misdemeanor, meaning law enforcement would need to identify a primary offense before stopping a vehicle.

Under the proposed law, offenders 18 or older would face a fine of up to $25 upon conviction. Each offense would be considered singular, regardless of the number of minors present in the vehicle.

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