Bans on Smoking in Cars with Kids Catching On Nationwide

LITTLE ROCK, AR - State and cities around the nation are following Arkansas' lead in protecting young children from close encounters with secondhand smoke while traveling on public streets and highways.

Last year, the Arkansas Legislature banned smoking in cars with young children quickly and quietly.  Since the Arkansas law went into effect in July 2006, similar bans have been approved in Louisiana; Bangor, Maine; Rockland County, New York; Puerto Rico, and the Australian state of South Australia.

The measure, which bans smoking in passenger vehicles where a child younger than six is riding in a car seat, was offered by then state Representative Bob Mathis.  Mathis says he's pleased to see more states and cities adopting the measure.  He says it's brought an awareness to the dangers of smoking around children.

Arkansas' law is punishable by a $25 fine.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)