• Kenneth Powell

Is It Illegal to Smoke in a Car with a Child in Missouri?

In Missouri, tobacco takes a heavy toll with over 10 000 people dying each year from tobacco-related illnesses. Furthermore, 128 000 people under the age of 18 are expected to die prematurely from tobacco-related illness based on current patterns.


Secondhand smoke has long been recognized as a significant health risk for children, according to scientists. According to a 2006 report by the US Surgeon General, there is no safe amount of secondhand smoke, and children are more vulnerable to the risks than adults. Secondhand smoke was shown to be a recognized cause of low birth weight, asthma, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), bronchitis, middle ear disease, pneumonia, and other illnesses.

Why Is This Law in Place?


In order to protect children from secondhand cigarette smoke, the government enacted a law. Children's lungs are harmed by secondhand tobacco smoking. Some rules from this law include putting tobacco products out of sight in stores and making it more difficult to market tobacco to children.


In cases where you encounter a person smoking with a child in a car, consult a St Louis motor vehicle accident attorney. We also help clients with other issues such as those who want to sue for getting their parked car hit and more.

What Is Secondhand Tobacco Smoke?

What Is Secondhand Tobacco Smoke?


Environmental tobacco smoke or passive smoking are other terms for secondhand tobacco smoke. It's a mixture of smoke emitted by the smoker and smoke drifting from a burning cigarette's end.


Tobacco smoke contains approximately 4,000 compounds, more than 60 of which have been linked to human cancer. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have a lot of articles explaining the effects of this.


What Is the Risk of Secondhand Cigarette Smoke to Children in Cars?


Passive smoking in vehicles has an especially negative impact on children's health.

Even brief periods in a car with a smoker can be harmful to children's health. Tobacco smoke does not only impact youngsters when the car window is rolled down.


In the case of children, their bronchial tubes are smaller, and their immune systems are less matured than an adult's, making them more susceptible to respiratory and ear infections when they're exposed to second-hand smoke. Because children's airways are smaller, and they breathe faster than adults, they inhale more hazardous chemicals in the same length of time.

Children's contact with secondhand cigarette smoke has been linked to an increased risk of asthma, lower respiratory tract infections, such as pneumonia and bronchitis, SIDS, coughing, and wheezing.


According to the national center, smoking in cars is especially harmful to the health of children and nonsmokers because it quickly produces high quantities of second-hand smoke in a compact space. Secondhand smoke exposure exceeds the number of particles observed in smoky bars and restaurants when car windows are closed. When you smoke with the vehicle windows closed, you're releasing carbon monoxide, which can harm children even in little amounts.


Youth Access Laws


In Missouri, you must be 21 years old to purchase tobacco items. The United States passed legislation in December 2019 that raised the federal minimum age of sale for all tobacco products to 21 years old, effective immediately.


Minors are not permitted to purchase nicotine delivery products, such as e-cigarettes.

Signs declaring that sales to minors are unlawful may be required to be displayed in businesses.


Future Smoking Restrictions on Smoking in Vehicles


Smoking is prohibited in workplaces, childcare, and personal cars in 27 states, the District of Columbia, the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, Puerto Rico, Palau, and the United States Virgin Islands as of June 30, 2021.


While the US EPA, some state tobacco control programs, and several local organizations have run educational campaigns inspiring parents to implement voluntary household rules that make their homes smoke-free, there have been such campaigns promoting similar rules in personal vehicles.


Local laws regulating the wearing of seatbelts have assisted in changing public views and practices on this problem, and rules banning smoking in motor vehicles with children present may have the same effect. This is especially true if these measures, like seat belt rules, are combined with public awareness initiatives.


According to studies, public support for legislation prohibiting smoking in workplaces and public places grows once people have lived under these laws, particularly among smokers. States and local governments must decide whether or not it is reasonable to take government action to solve this issue. Local and state policymakers, Missouri's public health law center, civic leaders, and citizens can choose the best ways to protect children and possibly nonsmoking adults in their towns and states from secondhand smoke exposure in automobiles. Since Missouri is not a no-fault state for car accidents but an at-fault one, it only makes sense for it to protect children from secondhand smoke exposure inside vehicles.


Does Missouri Have a State-Wide Smoking Ban?


There isn't a statewide smoking ban. Instead, Missouri's Indoor Clean Air Act, enacted in 1992, outlaws smoking in all enclosed public spaces (including workplaces) and public meetings, except for authorized smoking zones that must occupy no more than 30% of the enclosed space. In either case, proper warning signs must be provided.


Smoking may be prohibited in schools, childcare facilities, school buses, and public areas by local governments.


The Western District of the Missouri Court of Appeal determined on June 23, 2009, that Kansas City's 2008 local ban on smoking in all establishments, including billiard parlors and bars, was not prohibited by this act. Later, the Missouri Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal from that judgment.

Is There a State Law Prohibiting Smoking in Public Places or at Work in Missouri?


Yes. The Missouri Clean Indoor Air Law, also known as Sections 191.765 – 191.777 RSMo (2000), prohibits smoking in public places. Work locations are included in the legal definition of public space, whether they are public or private.


Does This Law Prohibit Smoking in Indoor Public Places or Work Sites?

Does This Law Prohibit Smoking in Indoor Public Places or Work Sites?


The answer is yes, but only partially. Only the owner of the public space has the authority to decide whether smoking is permitted inside. If smoking is permitted, the law specifies the procedures for constructing and publicizing designated smoking areas.

Quitting Statistics and Benefits


In Missouri, cigarette smoking and vaping are becoming increasingly popular. The CDC estimates that in Missouri, 49.7% of daily adult smokers stopped for one or more days in 2018.


In comparison to the national average of $2.14, Missouri's state quitline invests 53 cents for each smoker. There is no private insurance mandate for smoking cessation in Missouri, according to the State Tobacco Activities Tracking and Evaluation System.