bc-090624-smoking-driver

(CBC)

A Corner Brook man has been charged with smoking in a vehicle that was also occupied by a child under the age of 16.

The charge stems from an incident reported to police on July 8.

Officers with the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary tracked down the man and vehicle in question and found an eight-year-old boy in the back seat.

The 22-year-old driver was issued a ticket for the offense and has since been charged under the Smoke-Free Environment Act.

Kevin Coady, executive director of the Newfoundland and Labrador Alliance for the Control of Tobacco, said this is the first instance he's aware of where charges have been laid.

"I know the law is there on the books and I'm sure some people have been given some warnings, but I'm not aware of anyone being charged," Coady said.

"The law is there. It's for the protection of children and it's a good thing to see that the message is going to go back there now."

Coady stressed that it's not fair to expose children to second-hand smoke.

"Get out of the car and if you need a smoke, do it outside" Coady said.

Coady said he occasionally sees people smoking with children in the car, but more regularly sees cab drivers smoke, despite the law.

Police said the case has been forwarded to the Department of Child, Youth and Family Services.