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Smoking law focus of Sulphur public awareness campaign

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SULPHUR, LA (KPLC) -

Wednesday marked the annual Kick Butts Day, a day where adults, youth, schools and officials came together to raise awareness for, what they consider, the problem of tobacco use in their communities.

Here in Louisiana, the Sulphur Police Department spent Wednesday afternoon at local schools, making the public aware of a state law regarding smoking in vehicles with children present.

State law outlines that smoking in a vehicle is prohibited while any child 13 or under is in the car, even if the windows are down.

"Today we are making the public aware of the danger of smoking in a vehicle with children," said Sulphur Public Information Officer Mel Estess.

Sulphur Mayor Chris Duncan, police, the Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco Free Living and Women & Children's Hospital partnered together to create awareness cards for parents.

"We are passing out these cards to remind them about Act 838, and the importance of it," Duncan said. "We are working to make sure our children live good and healthy lives."

The law was passed by the Louisiana Legislature in 2006. Violation of the law could lead to a fine, community service or both.

"There is a fine of $150 or, if the judge wants, he can give 24 hours of community service," Estess said.

Duncan said, "In a few weeks, we will issue citations. So today, we want to bring awareness to the law."

Officers said if they can visibly see someone violating the law, they will issue a citation. The citation will be a non-moving violation and will not go on a driving record.

"I am so excited," Ruby O'Neal said. "I just hope they enforce it."

Duncan and officers handed out public awareness cards listing the law and facts regarding secondhand smoke.

Officers said their focus is the safety and health of children in the community.

"A lot of times we are not thinking when we smoke in the presence of children and what it is doing to them physically and mentally," Estess said. "We just want children to have a chance at a healthy life."

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