Kitzhaber signs smoking ban in cars with kids into law

      SALEM, Ore. (AP) Oregon drivers caught smoking in cars with kids may face hefty fines under a new state law.

      Gov. John Kitzhaber signed into law on Tuesday a bill that prohibits drivers from lighting up if a person under 18 is also in the car.

      The bill was the subject of a fiery debate in the Legislature.

      Supporters said secondhand smoke is a health hazard and children shouldn't be harmed by their parents' bad decision to smoke.

      Critics said the state shouldn't regulate what drivers do in their own cars.

      A police officer could enforce the ban only if the driver had been pulled over for a separate traffic violation. A maximum fine for the first offense would be $250.

      The law also covers marijuana and regulated narcotics.

      Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.