PORT HOPE, Ont. - It's only a matter of time before someone "snaps" after being pulled over under Ontario's new law forbidding smoking in a vehicle carrying a minor, a police officer said Monday in response to a quirk in the legislation that was made evident during a weekend incident.

"People got mad enough when they couldn't smoke in bars anymore or bingo parlours," said Sgt. Bryant Wood, a police officer in the eastern Ontario town of Port Hope.

"Now you're telling them they can't smoke in cars. At some point somebody's going to snap along the way here."

Nova Scotia is the only other jurisdiction in the country to have a similar law, though others are considering it. Ontario had previously banned smoking in all enclosed public places and workplaces before the new legislation took effect late last month.

Wood's comments came a day after one of his colleagues, Const. Tammie Hartford, pulled over 20-year-old Port Hope resident Tory Ashton and wrote him a $155 ticket for smoking in his vehicle with a person under age 16 present.

Ashton was transporting several passengers, including a 15-year-old girl. While the ticket was being written, the girl -- who is a smoker -- got out of the car and legally lit up a cigarette.

Ashton said the girl was upset that he was given a ticket.

"She's 15, she smokes also and ... they're giving me the fine," he told CTV.

There is no law prohibiting a 15-year-old from smoking; it is only illegal for someone under 19 years of age to purchase or sell tobacco.

Wood, who has been a police officer for 16 years, said he anticipates that as more people are written up in Ontario for the new driving violation, problems will arise.

"The problem is people believe they have the right to smoke," he said. "It's their vehicle, it's their free will to be able to have a cigarette.

"Generally speaking, I think we're going to run into a lot of bad attitudes when we pull people over for that. It's going to become almost a human-rights issue for them."

The provincial politician representing the eastern Ontario riding that contains Port Hope called it a "glitch" in the law that allowed a man to be fined for smoking with a 15-year-old girl in his car while she could stand by the side of the road and legally light up.

Liberal Lou Rinaldi, the member for Northumberland-Quinte West, is asking for a meeting with the province's health promotion minister later this week to find ways to improve the fledgling legislation.

One improvement might be changing the age limit on how young the passenger has to be for the smoking ban to kick in, Rinaldi said.

"In 99.9 per cent of cases, the legislation is doing the job," he said.

The law, which took effect Jan. 21, is designed to shield young people from highly concentrated levels of second-hand smoke.

George Habib, president and CEO of the Ontario Lung Association, said the under-16 age restriction is ideal and was only selected after much consideration.

"This was research done ahead of time by the Ontario Medical Association," Habib said.

"It's really about the development of the young person and their lungs."

Rinaldi also said he'd like to discuss the law with Port Hope police to see what challenges they've had in enforcing it.

There have already been other reports of people being fined under the legislation, including separate incidents involving a 29-year-old Sarnia-area woman and a 53-year-old Kingston man.

Both were nabbed at RIDE spot checks that normally determine if a driver has been drinking.

Statistics on how many charges have been laid since the law came into effect won't be available for several weeks.

Wood noted there are many factors working against police in trying to issue tickets under the new law. Those factors include being unable to see through tinted windows, significantly less daylight in winter, and attempting to clearly see someone smoking when a car zooms past.

Ontario's Ministry of Health Promotion did not immediately comment on the incident Monday afternoon.