Smoking, Cars, Kids & The Failure of Common Sense

Today’s “Letter of the Day” in the Star Tribune is from Jason Crosby of Plymouth, former smoker, father and critic of the proposed state law to prohibit smoking in cars with kids. Crosby confesses to smoking in the car (presumably with children aboard) , reasoning that since he always rolled the windows “at least partially down , most of the smoke is sucked out the window while the car is moving.”

I agree that that statement is a “common sense” rationalision. Unfortunately, it is also wrong.  I have seen the testing being done in cars, and even with the windows down, the monitors used to track secondhand smoke quickly went above the EPA’s  “unsafe level” for air pollution.  Scientific studies back this up.

I don’t think Mr. Crosby is a bad man or a bad father for exposing his kid to secondhand smoke — he thought it was okay, if he just cracked the window a bit.  I may have thought the same thing, in his place.  However, we know things today about tobacco and secondhand smoke we didn’t know in the past, and this new bill is a good opportunity to spread the news. 

Hopefully, more people will become better informed, and no one will ever get a ticket for smoking in a car with kids on board.

2 Comments so far

  1. greg on March 4th, 2009 @ 11:20 am

    While I agree that you shouldn’t smoke in the car with your kids, I’m not sure I agree it should be an explicit law. For example, you shouldn’t punch your kids in the face while you drive, but they don’t have to make that a law.

    Parents should take responsibility for not exposing their kids to things that could danger them. Whether it’s lead paint in a home (not illegal), Windex under the kitchen sink (not illegal), or smoke, this is common sense parenting and not something the government necessarily needs to take on a nanny state role to enforce.

  2. Robert Moffitt (justpbob) on March 5th, 2009 @ 12:02 pm

    I guess I view government more as a useful servant than as a terrible master. Frankly, common sense should make a lot of the laws on the books unecessary, but some folks just dont have much common sense.

    This bill is aimed at them.

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