N.S. town bans smoking in cars carrying children

A small Nova Scotia town on Monday became the first Canadian municipality to ban smoking in vehicles when a child is present.

All seven councillors in Wolfville, a town of 3,600 located about 70 kilometres northwest of Halifax, voted in favour of the measure.

The law, expected to come into effect next June, would prohibit exposing children under the age of 18 to second-hand smoke in a vehicle.

Wolfville Mayor Bob Stead said the RCMP is on side and will issue first-time offenders a warning, while subsequent offences would likely result in a $50 fine.

Stead said there was widespread support for the ban at a public meeting held Nov. 5. The mayor said council members felt it was important to protect children under 18 from health risks posed by the smoke.

Critics have argued the bylaw is intrusive, restricting what people can do inside their own vehicles.

Stead said if people really want to light up while transporting children, there's nothing to stop them from leaving town.

"They can probably do that by driving a couple of kilometres."