updated 2/4/2004 4:54:50 PM ET 2004-02-04T21:54:50

Georgia lawmakers are considering a first-in-the-nation law that would require drivers who smoke to roll down the windows before lighting up with children in the car.

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The measure, approved 9-0 Wednesday by a state House committee, would impose a $15 fine.

Supporters say toddlers need legal protection from secondhand smoke. Opponents consider the measure intrusive.

The House narrowly approved the measure last year, but the Senate rejected the idea. The bill will not get a better reception this year, said Sen. Eric Johnson, a Senate leader.

“That’s not to say that smoking in a car with small children isn’t wrong. It’s horribly wrong,” he said. “But if we’re going to make everything bad for you illegal, and then fine you $15 for doing it, we could balance the budget just on that.”

No other state restricts smoking in private cars.

The bill would allow police to pull over motorists for smoking while driving with a child in a car safety seat, required in Georgia for youngsters under 4.

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