Car Related

Is it Illegal to Smoke in a Car with a Child in Wisconsin?

Using tobacco products is the most common avoidable cause of diseases in the United States. Over 480,000 people die from smoking every year just in the US.

Smoking causes many systemic disorders. These disorders not only affect the lungs but also cause other systemic complications. Additional diseases include coronary heart disease, cancers, and eye diseases.

The worst part of tobacco use is that smokers are not the only people at risk. People around smokers are known as passive smokers. They inhale second-hand smoke, which can cause health issues. According to the CDC, 34,000 people die from heart disease developed from second-hand smoke.

Children, especially, have such delicate health and immune systems. Their bodies cannot cope with the stress of passive smoking. Therefore, many countries in the world consider it illegal to smoke around children.

Many states in the US also prohibit smoking in the vicinity of children and even adults. However, in Wisconsin, these regulations are still not applicable. People can smoke in a car with children in Wisconsin without penalty.

Don’t be surprised if this changes, though. States such as California, Hawaii, New Jersey, Alabama, Indiana, Kentucky, and New York, have all enacted laws prohibiting smoking in a car with minors.

Consequences of First-Hand Smoking

Smoking tobacco has a devastating effect on your health. One tobacco cigarette contains over 7,000 harmful toxins. More than 75 of these chemicals are directly linked to causing cancer.  

Smoking disables the liver’s ability to clean out the toxins from your body. Therefore, you are shutting off the natural cleaning mechanism of your body.

Within ten seconds of inhalation, these toxins reach the entire body. First, they get absorbed in the bloodstream through the lungs. After the lungs, they move to the veins, reach the liver, brain, kidney, and throughout the body.

Common Toxins in Tobacco Smoke

Smoking also affects your physical appearance. Regular smoking makes you look pale, old, and skinny. It causes fatigue and stains the teeth yellow-brown.

While we can’t name all of the harmful toxins in tobacco cigarettes, we’ll explore the most dangerous and their effects on your health.


This chemical is the primary cause of addiction to tobacco. Nicotine is a neurotransmitter that triggers your brain to produce dopamine, which is the chemical of pleasure that makes you feel happy.

If you quit smoking, your body will crave dopamine. You will feel withdrawal symptoms such as feeling confused, anxious, and irritable as a result.

Carbon Monoxide

We also know carbon monoxide, or CO2, as a silent killer. It reduces the oxygen-binding capacity of hemoglobin in your blood. As a result, constant inhalation of carbon monoxide leads to a reduction in the lungs’ efficiency.

The smoke from cigarettes swells up in the alveoli, which are the major functioning unit of the lungs.

Smoking leads to many lung disorders, including asthma, emphysema, and lung cancer. It also increases pressure on the heart because it has to pump blood with more force to provide oxygen to the entire body.

Because of over-exertion, heart muscles become hypertrophic. This hypertrophy reduces the capacity of the heart and blood vessels. Reduced oxygen supply to the brain causes confusion and nervousness.

Coal Tar

Coal tar is a blackish grease-like substance present in tobacco smoking. This soot covers the entire surface of the lungs when inhaled. It reduces the pleural fluid in the lungs and leads to lung dysfunctions.

Phenolic Compounds

Phenolic compound toxins kill all the fluid-producing cells in your body. These cells usually produce mucus to clean the airways. Phenols disable the cleaning mechanism of the airways of your body.

Other Carcinogens

These chemicals cause your cells in your body to grow abnormally. This abnormal growth is what leads to the development of cancer in various organs such as the lungs, mouth, and throat.

Hence, tobacco smoking leads to multisystem disorders in the body.  

Consequences of Passive Smoking

Second-hand smoking leads to all the similar effects caused by direct smoking. It leads to premature death and lung cancer in non-smoking adults who are in a smoker’s vicinity.

According to the WHO, each year over 61,000 children die from second-hand smoke inhalation worldwide. Exposure to passive smoke causes multifunction disorders in people. Just some of these disorders include asthma and lung cancer.

In children, passive smoking causes sudden infant death, severe respiratory infections, middle ear disease, delayed lung growth, severe asthma, and respiratory symptoms.

Why Wisconsin Doesn’t Ban Smoking in a Car with Children

All scientific research proves that passive smoking is just as damaging as direct smoking. Many countries in the world have already introduced laws to prevent children’s exposure to second-hand smoke.

Over 18 states in the US have a ban on smoking in the presence of children. These states also charge fines if people don’t follow the rules. Children can also file complaints about their guardians if they are breaking the law.

However, other states are turning a blind eye to this issue. Despite the rise in passive smoking disorders, there is no legislation to prevent this.

Health Effects of Smoking in a Car

Smoking in a car leads to long-term effects on both primary and passive smokers. In a car, there is less air volume and more air circulation. This circulation increases the inhalation of more concentration of toxins.

According to research, smoking in a closed car causes the inhalation of 100 more toxins in addition to the usual ones.

Smoking tobacco in a car with children causes them to inhale carbon monoxide and other harmful chemicals. This passive inhalation negatively affects the mental abilities of your child. They could also form an addiction to nicotine because of the dopamine release in the brain.

Improving Tobacco Laws in Wisconsin

Since last year, Wisconsin is paying more attention to tobacco laws. The number of tobacco users is rising to alarming levels. These cases lead to the enforcement of many new regulations.

Tobacco 21

One improvement in legislation is the Tobacco 21 law. This law allows only people above 21 years of age to buy tobacco products. Before, adults of age 18 could purchase tobacco products and cigarettes.

Cancellation of Licenses

Initially, police could not enforce this new law in many areas. The stores are selling these products to underage kids. To stop this unchecked sale of nicotine and tobacco, they introduced new regulations.

The police force is present even in gas stations and small shops. This law allows the cop to charge fines and cancel the nicotine sale licenses of these establishments.

Clean Indoors Policy

According to this law, they prohibit the use of tobacco and nicotine products in some places. People may not smoke indoors, like offices, schools, and workplaces.

There are fines and punishment for people not following these laws. In addition, the law prohibits smoking in public places. Many recreational and cultural places are also no smoke zones.

Tobacco Tax Laws

Taxes have been increasing on various tobacco products. States apply these taxes even on snuff boxes and e-cigarette products.

Not paying or charging these taxes leads to the cancellation of sales licenses.

Wisconsin is ranks 14th on the sales tax of $2.52 per pack in the US. Many states have even higher tax percentages. Other tobacco products have more than 70% tax rates.

Should You Smoke While Your Child’s in the Car?

The US is now working on making more laws to prevent passive smoking in children. Researchers know about all the ill health effects of passive smoking in people. Some of these laws also prohibit smoking in public places.

Many states have laws for smoking prohibition in public places and workplaces. However, these states still lack laws for smoking prohibition in cars with children.

These laws are not yet applicable in all the states of the US. But we expect that government will enforce these laws soon.

So, even though Wisconsin doesn’t say you can’t smoke in the car with your child, you should avoid doing so at all costs. It harms them in more ways than you can imagine.

Frequently Asked Questions 

1. Where is it illegal to smoke tobacco in Wisconsin?

According to Wisconsin laws, smoking is prohibited in the following locations:

  •   Private and public workplaces
  •   Restaurants, bars, and casinos
  •   Stores and shops
  •   Cultural and recreational places.

2. What are the licensing laws for tobacco sales and purchases in Wisconsin?

You can purchase tobacco products in Wisconsin if you have a government-issued ID and above 21 years old.

To sell tobacco products, you need a specific sales license issued by a state’s regulatory authority.

3. What are e-cigarettes?

E-cigarettes are smokeless products that contain nicotine. They are just as addictive as cigarettes. However, they can also be FDA-approved smoking cessation products.

4. Are e-cigarettes less harmful than cigarettes?

Yes, e-cigarettes are less harmful than smoking tobacco. Tobacco smoke contains more than 7000 toxins. Out of these, over 70 chemicals are carcinogenic.

Using refined nicotine can help you leave smoking by providing the dopamine surge. However, these products are also addictive for nonsmokers and not completely harmless.

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