Minors caught smoking in Rhode Island would be required to perform community service and enroll in a tobacco cessation program under a measure endorsed by the state Senate.
Current state law says those under age 18 who are cited for smoking must complete either 30 hours of community service or a tobacco treatment program. Under the legislation approved by the Senate, however, violators would have to do both.
The bill is sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Dominick Ruggerio. The North Providence Democrat says that while the added penalties may be seen as simple punishment, he believes they will offer young smokers the opportunity to “make better judgments.”
The Senate passed the legislation Thursday. An identical bill is already pending in the House.