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Smoking with Kids in the Car

Can You Get Pulled Over For Lighting Up?

It has been proven that smoking is hazardous to individual health. It has also been proposed that receiving a dose of secondhand smoke can possibly cause some very detrimental effects. The fact that secondhand smoke may be dangerous, has prompted law makers to propose various bans.

Smoking in an enclosed space, such as a business or a bar, has been stopped by many states and municipalities. These bans have raised ire and praise alike. The latest popular move by lawmakers has caused more controversy. Smoking with kids in the car has now been banned by a number of states.

Some States Ban Smoking with Kids in The Car

A ban of smoking with kids in the car has occurred within the past two years with Arkansas leading the way (quickly followed by Louisiana and California). The families that are affected, range from those who have very young children in the car to those who have any minor (a child younger than 18 in most states) in the car. Most of the bans are not an offense unless the driver is stopped for something else. But most law makers are trying to make smoking with kids in the car a misdemeanor.

The proponents of the laws point to research that says that secondhand smoke may be more dangerous than smoking the cigarette, cigar or pipe yourself. This assumption is still not proven by reliable research, but it is evident that it causes some harm. Children are a more vulnerable population because of lung development. If the child is exposed to smoke repeatedly, over a long period of time, they have a greater risk for lung complications and other harmful health effects.

Opponents say that smoking with kids in the car is a bad thing, but that local, state and federal governments should not legislate parenting. They are called "nanny" laws. These types of laws can lead to the government telling people how they can raise their kids. The founders of the bills state that health care costs are a major reason for the bills.

That may be the best argument for the smoking bans. Health care costs are staggering as it is. When children are in an enclosed space they absorb more of the harmful toxins associated with smoking. Therefore, they have a greater possibility of contracting a harmful condition later in life. It has also been proven that the children of smokers are more likely to become smokers themselves. These factors were taken into consideration when the bills were passed.

So the debate about smoking with kids in the car comes down to two issues. The future health care for individuals who have no recourse except to endure the smoking, versus those who do not want the government to raise their kids. Both side have compelling arguments. When deciding which side to support it is important to conduct some research.

Other proposed bans have been enacted to stop parents from spanking their children as well as a law to mandate a papillomavirus (a virus relating to HPV) vaccine for seventh grade girls. Both bills have never made it to the floor of any senate, but they may soon. If the government is allowed to legislate in one area with no outcry from the public how far will they go?  On the other hand, if parents are not wise enough to have concern for their children's safety and health, should they be reprimanded?

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