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Not state’s role to punish parents who smoke in car


Taken from Tuesday’s edition of the David Boze Show.

Alright, so it’s begun. We’ve got a new round in Olympia which means you’re going to have politicians desperate to find ways to get some ink that shows they love people more than their opponent does.

So the best thing you can do is try to protect kids or pets or something that indicates that you care. And it doesn’t matter if the impact is real or imagined.

The latest round of this strikes me as just that is this proposal House Bill 2086 to punish people for smoking in a car if their child is in the car. Because we’ve all been indoctrinated with this idea that there’s no worse parent out there than one who is smoking in the car with kids. It’s basically a sure prescription for lung cancer. They’re basically dooming their children to a life of asthma, of cancer, of horrible disease. It’s akin to child abuse.

Now, let me make something really clear, even though some of you will still be confused about it based on past experience, I will say it again.

When I was a kid, this was pre-seat belt law, I remember riding in the car with my mom. Her car was a 280 ZX. I was in the hatchback portion of the car. There was no back seat. My brother and I were scrunched in the back and my sister would be in the front. My mom would be driving, she smokes like a chimney and so all the smoke would collect in the back and I hated it.

I tend to be very sensitive to smells anyway, whether it’s cigarettes or perfume or cologne or whatever it is, so it was always a torture for me to be in the back of the car with the smoke. I hate smoking, I don’t like being around smoking.

That said, the idea that a parent is somehow deserving of the power of the state to come along and fine them because they’re smoking in the car is just absurd.

There are numerous studies out there that show that children under the age of five, probably under the age of six, should not be exposed to any television at all.

Should we have some kind of monetary fine for the, shall we say, 99 percent of you out there who still expose your kids to television at home or is it only smoking? Is it only smoking that has that impact on life? And what impact are we having here? The fine that is being proposed is $125 to $250. The sponsors to this bill include people that I respect on both sides of the aisle.

But here’s the thing. There was just a large scale study released in December, a study of 76,000 women over more than a decade. The study was designed to find a link between secondhand smoke and cancer. And this study found no statistically significant link.

In the article in Forbes that detailed this, there was automatically this reaction of ‘it doesn’t matter if it’s significant or not. If there’s any link whatsoever, we just can’t be safe enough. Really? So now we’re going to go for when a study shows that there’s no link there we should still freak out about it?

Only among women who had lived with a smoker for 30 years or more was there a relationship that researchers described as “borderline statistical significance.”

Look, I have no problem with saying secondhand smoke is a bad thing. But let’s not start running around seeking ways to punish parents and financially penalize people based on this shaky at best link.

This idea that there’s a sure connection between that and the doom of the children in the future is not there. Mind your own business. Focus on the things that actually matter for the kids.

We’ve got plenty of problems. Stop going after the parents who happen to be smoking in the car. It’s not the same as child abuse. We haven’t even gotten to the point where we’re actually capable and competent with dealing with actual child abusers. Let’s go after them first. Let’s try and prioritize just a little bit.

Taken from Tuesday’s edition of the David Boze Show.


Bill: Smoking in car with minors would be fined

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