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It seems that every year, more public places ban smoking. While several states in the U.S. outlaw smoking in cars while transporting minors, none have banned smoking in the car outright. But several other countries have. Is the U.S. next?

The CDC has established that secondhand smoke is especially dangerous because it is from the unfiltered end of a cigarette. “Secondhand smoke causes premature death and disease in children and nonsmoking adults.” So it’s not shocking that many states have laws against smoking in a car while children are present for their safety. But these laws vary by age:

StateSecondhand Smoke Age Cutoff
Northern Mariana Islands18
Puerto Rico18

None of the above states ban smoking while driving alone in your car or with other adults. But some countries do. In Turkey, smoking in a vehicle has been prohibited since 2013. It is also illegal in some cities, such as Delhi in India. In Mauritius it is illegal to smoke in a car carrying passengers of any age. And it has been since 2008.

Car ashtray overflowing with cigarette butts
Car ashtray | Denis Torkhov via iStockPhoto

Other countries are considering a ban on smoking in any cars. These countries include Israel, Taiwain, the Netherlands, and Germany. Why? One of the first reasons often cited is passengers suffering from secondhand smoke and overall air quality in cities. But Germany added concerns about traffic security, citing traffic accidents that have caused from dropping a lit cigarette or struggling to find and light cigarettes. Finally, some fire departments warn that cigarettes tossed out car windows are one of the leading causes of forest fires.

There is no proposed ban against smoking in all cars in any U.S. state or at the federal level–on public roadways. But there may be ordinances in private places, such as the parking lots of drive through restaurants, or the pickup lanes at schools. So do read the signs carefully before you light up.

Next, learn more about the states where its illegal to smoke in a car with kids.