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Assembly votes to ban all smoking in child care centers

California bill seeks to extend smoking ban in childcare centers.
California bill seeks to extend smoking ban in childcare centers. /iStockphoto.com

Smoking inside a home which doubles as a child care center could soon be illegal - even when children are not present.

It’s already illegal to smoke in a day care center while children are there.  The State Assembly voted 55-8 Monday to pass a bill that would extend the ban to any time of the day. It seeks to curtail health risks on small children of "third-hand smoke," lingering particles that remain long after a cigarette has been extinguished. 

The impact of second-hand smoke on non-smokers has been well-documented. Now researchers have begun to document the effect of particles left on drapes, furniture and other surfaces when someone has smoked inside a house or car.

One study from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory concluded that DNA in human cells can be damaged by third-hand smoking. It found lingering smoke particularly harmful for children, who have a tendency to put things in their mouths. 

In childcare settings, substances and smells from cigarettes can seep into stuffed animals and couches. Advocates of the ban argue the particles are particularly dangerous for developing brains and bodies. 

Compton Assemblyman Isadore Hall, authored the bill, which would affect California's 36,000 licensed childcare centers. Twelve states already ban smoking around the clock in child-care centers. 

The bill needs to pass the state Senate and be signed by the Governor to become law.

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