Smoking in the car with kids: Should it be illegal?
It's not every morning that I've read the paper by 7:30 AM, but this morning the stars aligned in our house and I made it through all 6 pages of The O (OK, slight exaggeration on the 6 pages). Maybe you saw it too? The short piece about the debate in Salem over a bill proposed to make smoking in cars with kids illegal.
No doubt we all have an immediate, sort of gut reaction to this. But after reading the full article (instead of just the headline, my usual M.O. these days), it proves to be an interesting debate with a bundle of pros and cons. Like:
- Declaring something illegal sends a strong message.
- Will everyone call 911 when they see someone smoking in the car with kids? Clogging the lines for emergencies?
- Is it just a tad too far for government? How is it different than car seats?
- 4 other states have this law (!): Arkansas, CA, ME, and LA. WA is pondering it.
- Is education effective enough to be a real alternative?
- What would the penalty be?
- Would kids report their parents? (I added that one)
- The adverse health effects are significant and not at all in question.
- More than once I've been annoyed that I can't decide when it's appropriate to leave my kids in the car, that I am penalized because some parents make bad decisions with occasioanlly tragic outcomes. But in this case, if you're a non-smoker it simply doesn't affect you. Easier to support a law that affects someone else, right?
The bill (H2385) had its 1st hearing in the legislature last Friday. House Transportation Committee members want more info before scheduling a vote on the floor of the House. Read the bill here and contact your legislator if you've got a strong opinion. I'm torn. Leaning toward yes, but sorting out the issues. I'm about as liberal as they come, but I weigh heavily government intervention into personal decisions. You??
[Thanks to flickr for the pic, the title of which is 'child abuse.' Guess someone has a strong opinion!]