Monday, October 15, 2007

Smoking With Kids in The Car

I can remember long car trips with my mother and stepfather smoking, and often with all the windows rolled up. My mother deluded herself by saying smoking was harmless to her because “I don’t inhale.” And since I didn’t smoke I was only inhaling "harmless" secondhand smoke.

Effective January 1, 2008, such behavior by adults in California will result in a $100 fine. Gov. Schwarzenegger signed into a law a bill making it illegal to smoke in a vehicle if someone under age 18 is present. Similar laws are in effect in Arkansas and Louisiana and under consideration in other states.

As someone who generally objects to government intrusion into most personal behavior, I am cautious about cheering for such legislation. I can see dangers down the road when government becomes too "helpful" in saving us from ourselves.

So call me inconsistent, because at the same time I am in favor of practically any legislation that discourages smoking and protects non-smokers, especially children. The tobacco industry has a powerful lobby. I personally find little distinction between tobacco peddlers and drug dealers. One may have the law on their side, but both are in the business of destroying lives.

The law takes effect January 1st.

Read more about the new law here.

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