Rep. Nora Slawik (DFL-Maplewood) brought a bill before the House Health Care and Human Services Policy and Oversight Committee to prohibit smoking in vehicles where children are present.

Secondhand smoke in vehicles is particularly harmful to children because their breathing rates are faster and their developing lungs take in more toxins, said Natalie Johnson Lee, executive director of the Minnesota African American Tobacco Education Network.

Bill proponent 13-year-old Joe Chlebeck compared riding in a smoke-filled vehicle to “being in prison and a gas chamber.”

According to Rep. Laura Brod (R-New Prague), future discussion of the bill will likely center on encroachment on to private property.