Shepherdsville bans smoking with children in vehicle

In the first such ban in Kentucky, the Shepherdsville City Council has passed an ordinance prohibiting smoking in motor vehicles with children inside them.

Smoking in vehicles with children “is something we see a lot around here,” and is “a big problem,” Kalynn Walls, a legal assistant who helped write the ordinance, told Laura Ungar of The Courier-Journal. The ordinance “is kind of a common-sense thing” that is designed partly “to spark other cities to adopt policies like this,” Walls said.

The ordinance says people can’t “use tobacco products with a residue of smoke” in a vehicle occupied by anyone under 18. The ban applies to cigarettes, cigars, pipes and other products, but not to e-cigarettes. It is a secondary offense, meaning drivers can’t be pulled over for it, but can be cited if stopped for another violation. Conviction carries a fine of up to $250.

The ordinance was inspired by a similar law in England and is the first in Kentucky, according to Ellen Hahn, a University of Kentucky nursing professor and director of the Kentucky Center for Smoke-Free Policy.

Hahn told The Courier-Journal that she wishes Bullitt County, of which Shepherdsville is the county seat, prohibited smoking in workplaces. The county health board passed a smoking ban three years ago, but the fiscal court sued to overturn it, and the Kentucky Supreme Court said smoking bans should be enacted only by elected officials.

In Bullitt County, 27 percent of adults smoke, about the same rate as statewide. “Kentucky consistently has one of the highest adult smoking rates in the nation,” Ungar notes.

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