Alabama bill hopes to ban smoking in cars carrying children

(CNN) -- Thinking of lighting up a cigarette in a car full of children? That may not be an option soon in Alabama.

The state House passed HB26, banning smoking in a car while children ages 19 or under are present, by a 41-30 vote. The bill goes to the Senate for a vote next.

This law will apply to any car, moving or parked. If it passes, violators will be fined $100.

"We aren't saying you can't smoke, and we aren't saying what to do with your body," state Rep. Rolanda Hollis said. "We just want to look out more for the kids."

The bill was inspired by a date night the Democratic lawmaker went on with her husband. She said he lit a cigarette in the car while they were out.

"If I can barely breathe, I'm sure children can barely breathe," Hollis said.

There's growing evidence that the risk of heart disease increases with amount of smoke exposure as a child. A study published in the journal Circulation found that children whose parents smoke around them have four times the risk of developing heart disease. Children's smaller lungs, faster breathing and not yet fully developed immune systems make them more susceptible to the smoke.

More than 80 percent of secondhand smoke contains cancer-causing toxins, according to the British Lung Foundation. They added that smoke is more concentrated in the confined space of a car.

If the bill passes, it will join California, Maine, Oregon, Virginia and Puerto Rico, who all have similar laws about smoking in cars.