Gut Check: Making simple sense out of life
By Lenore Skomal Erie Times-News staff blogger
Lenore Skomal is an award-winning author and veteran journalist in all forms of media. She is a weekly columnist and daily blogger for the Erie Times-News. She’s authored 17 published books, including an anthology of her columns, Burnt Toast available on her website   Read more about this blog.
Posted: February 27th, 2013
Should smoking be banned in cars that carry children?

It’s the opinion of one of the ministers in Britain that the country should look at a nationwide ban of people smoking cigarettes in cars that also carry children. No legislation is currently being discussed, but the article sited other countries that already have such a ban in place, including Canada, South Africa and even several states here in the U.S.

This was news to me. Apparently, ArkansasCaliforniaLouisianaMaineMaryland, and Puerto Rico as well as parts of New Jersey, Hawaii and New York all have bans prohibiting in private vehicles carrying children, though the ages vary. Connecticut is currently testing the waters with its own bill. (For the complete list, click here.)

Pennsylvania has no such law in place. Back in 2009, one was introduced that would ban smoking in cars carrying children 8 years old and younger, but it was referred to committee where it died.

It clearly makes sense to not smoke around children, given the preponderance of evidence about the harms of second-hand smoke. I would think that adults, especially parents, have enough presence of mind not to do it. But I’m actually surprised that the bans passed, since they do nudge up against, if not cross, the line of telling people what they can and can’t do in private.

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