Md. lawmaker wants smoking banned in cars with youngsters
By Examiner Staff Writer
A Maryland state lawmaker wants to ban smoking in cars carrying young children.
The proposed legislation by Sen. Mike Lenett of Montgomery County would fine smokers who light up in cars with children under 8 as passengers. The maximum fine would be $50.
“This is not an anti-smoking bill,” Lenett said in his prepared testimony to a Senate committee.? “It is a children’s health bill.”
Four other states — Arkansas, Louisiana, California and Maine — have enacted similar legislation and 21 others are considering it, Lenett said.
A 2006 report by the U.S. surgeon general said that even brief exposure to secondhand smoke could be harmful to children by causing respiratory problems and increasing the risk for ear infections.? And Lenett cited a recent study by Harvard University that found that “adults who smoke while driving their children may be harming them more than they realized.”
Smoking advocates said bills such as Lenett’s rely on scientific studies about the health effects of secondhand smoke that twist their findings to promote an anti-smoking agenda.
“Most reasonable parents, if they are smokers, would not drive around in a car with their kids in the car with the window all rolled up if they are smoking,” said Michael McFadden, a spokesman for the Smokers Club Inc. and the author of the book? “Dissecting Antismoker’s Brains.”
McFadden said Lenett’s bill was an attempt to use questions about children’s health to “put pressure on smokers to quit.”
“Saving the children is a very popular propaganda tactic,” McFadden said.
Lenett acknowledged that “some may regard this as a paternalistic law,” but added that children can’t assure themselves smoke-free car rides.
“When they are adults, they can decide whether they want to smoke,” Lenett said. “But they should not be forced to smoke as infants.”
A number of public health organizations support Lenett’s proposed legislation.? Similar bills have failed the past two years in Maryland, but the state did pass a sweeping anti-smoking measure in 2007 that generally banned smoking in bars and restaurants. Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine signed similar legislation into law Monday.
March 6th, 2009: Councilman Smalley, Kenai sponsor of a bill to eliminate smoking in all workplaces and “public places” said “It (was) not a smoking ban. It (was) a clean-air ordinance.”
Sept. 9th, 2008: Shawn Cox of the American Cancer Society, lobbying for a ban in Kentucky said, “This is not a smoking ban. This is a comprehensive, indoor clean-air effort.”
March 11th, 2009, Senator Lenett said, “This is not an anti-smoking bill. It is a children’s health bill.”
Somehow I can’t help but be reminded of George Orwell’s “War is Peace!” and “Freedom is Slavery!”
The antismoking lobby pushes for car bans at the moment simply because they’re not quite strong enough to grab for full-fledged home bans.? They’ve managed to get a few cities in California to ban smoking in apartments but what they really want is a ban on parents smoking at home.? How would they enforce such a ban?? Simple: Offer the children merit badges and a chance at a Disney World trip for turning their parents in.
Think that sounds far fetched?? Think how far-fetched a ban on smoking in strip clubs sounded ten years ago.? Think how far-fetched a 2,000% tax increase on rolling tobacco sounded just ten months ago (It hits on April 1st under SCHIP.) And think how far-fetched it is to compare smoking in a car traveling at 60 miles an hour with the windows rolled down with “forcing an infant to smoke.”
Michael J. McFadden
Author of Dissecting Antismokers’ Brains
Mid-Atlantic Director, Citizens Freedom Alliance, Inc.
Director, Pennsylvania Smokers’ Action Network (PASAN) http://pasan.TheTruthIsALie.com