Del. Elizabeth Guzman, D-31st District, filed legislation Monday that would ban smoking or vaping in vehicles occupied by minors under the age of 16, according to a news release.
Currently a smoking ban exists in vehicles occupied by children 8 years old and younger.
Virginia Code also does not have regulations to protect children from nicotine vapor.
According to a study by the Virginia Department of Health, 25 percent of high school students in Virginia report that smoking is allowed in the vehicle they ride in most frequently.
“As a mother, it was of great surprise to me to learn that children over the age of 8 can be exposed to second-hand smoke in vehicles,” said Guzman, “We face a vaping crisis in our schools. A survey conducted by the National Youth Tobacco Survey found that 20 percent of high school students use electronic cigarettes, with a separate study by Leventhal, Strong and Kirkpatrick showing that if they start vaping at a young age, by ninth grade, they are about seven
times more likely to start smoking cigarettes in the next year.
“Virginia needs to update its code to reflect the evidence-based results of medical studies. To sit idle would subject a quarter of our students to lifelong nicotine addiction before they graduate. It is not fair for a child to be exposed to this substance without consent; I won’t stand for this.”