The Health and Human Services Committee heard testimony March 7 on a bill intended to strengthen Nebraska’s Indoor Clean Air Act.
Under LB630, introduced by Omaha Sen. Rick Kolowski, smoking would be prohibited at all times in a private residence that is used as a place of employment licensed to provide child care. Currently, smoking is prohibited in a licensed residence only when it is being used to provide child care and nonoccupant children are present.
The bill also would add a motor vehicle as a place of employment at all times under the Indoor Clean Air Act if it is used to transport children for a licensed child care provider.
It can take up to 50 hours to clear cigarette smoke from newly constructed homes, Kolowski said, and residue from nicotine and other chemicals found in cigarettes – known as thirdhand smoke – accumulates in homes and can increase incidents of ear infections, asthma attacks and other ailments.
“Most parents, even the ones who smoke, do not want their children exposed to secondhand and thirdhand smoke,” he said. “This bill advocates for those working parents and their children to have a safe place to learn and to grow.”
David Corbin of the Public Health Association of Nebraska testified in support of the bill, saying children are more susceptible than adults to the dangers of secondhand and thirdhand smoke because of their exposure to the flooring and furniture in home day cares where toxic residue builds up.
“They have less developed defenses against environmental pollutants,” Corbin said.
Dave Holmquist of the American Cancer Society also supported the bill, but suggested that the protections sought by it might better be achieved through changing child care licensure rules and regulations.
Holmquist said exposing the Clean Indoor Air Act to further amendment during floor debate on LB630 ultimately could weaken the state’s strong protections for employees and others against secondhand smoke.
“It took two years to get it [passed],” he said, “and I don’t think that the dust has settled on it yet.”
No one testified in opposition and the committee took no immediate action on the bill.