By Gary R’nel

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – New Jersey State Senator Joseph Vitale is co-sponsoring a bill that would outlaw smoking in cars with children.

Vitale told Gary R’Nel on Talk Radio 1210 WPHT that this bill is just another step in keeping children safe while driving.

“It is as important to the health of a child to not be subject to smoke in a car, just as it is important for them to buckle up when they’re in that car. They’re equally important and protect their lives.”

He said that no matter the age of the child, smoking is dangerous, and adults should be held responsible for putting kids at risk.

“If you’re a 15-year-old or you’re a five-year-old, your lungs are susceptible, and your heart and your brain and everything else, to all the dangers and all the carcinogens that are in secondhand smoke. It’s awful. Whether you’re a 15-year-old or 12-year-old or eight-year-old, where do you draw the line? Well, not at 15, maybe 12 or 14? I just think that minors are a protected class, and if parents or adults…are that irresponsible to smoke with them in the car, then they should be accountable for it.”

Vitale dismissed criticism of the bill, comparing it to laws already on the books.

“Driving is a privilege. It’s not a right. We all have rules to live by. We can’t speed. We can’t cut people off. We have to wear our seatbelts. We have to obey the laws, stop at stop signs, and if we don’t do those things, we’re held accountable. In this case, we would be held accountable for putting the lives and the health of children at risk.”