Teen urges lawmakers to ban smoking in cars with kids

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) -- State lawmakers heard today from a young man who wants that smoking ban in vehicles carrying small children.

He's a sophomore in high school now, but he's been fighting for this since he was in the fifth grade.

Sixteen-year-old Justin Kvadas of East Hartford took time off from school Wednesday and with his mother and his local state rep. went to the Capitol to urge lawmakers to ban smoking in vehicles containing small children.

Current law requires kids under age 7 and 60 pounds to be strapped into their car seats. Infants under age one and 20 pounds must be rear facing and strapped in.  

Justin feels they should also be protected from second hand smoke.

It's a crusade that Justin started back when he was just 10 years old in 2007, when he first testified before another legislative committee and brought along his class from the O'Connell School in East Hartford.  

Wednesday marked the third time he has pleaded with lawmakers to put this plan on the books.

"It's an important issue to me because it's something that I think should be stopped...if people had the common sense to not drink and all that...it's a law already to not do that," Justin said. "You would think you wouldn't smoke because it's harmful to children, it's important to me that they're safe and they have a voice."

This is the first time this bill has come before the Transportation Committee for a public hearing. Most ideas for new laws do come from regular people, but it can take years to get things on the books.

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