March 25, 2009 - House lawmakers yesterday voted down a bill that would ban adults from smoking cigarettes in cars in which children are riding. The bill failed on a narrow vote of 184-167. (The legislation was decided on a "division" vote, meaning that it's impossible to know how any one lawmaker voted or to see the partisan breakdown on the bill.)
The debate on the smoking-in-the-car bill pitted medical evidence on the dangers of secondhand smoke against philosophical questions about the rights of individuals to partake in legal activities and practical concerns about how police officers would enforce such a law.
Representative Mary Griffin of Windham, the sponsor said she took issue with the idea that the bill represented "undue intrusion into parental privacy." "On the contrary, there is a long-established legal prohibition against endangering the welfare of a child."
She reeled off a list of ailments associated with inhaling cigarette smoke, such as asthma and cancer, and she cited a 2006 Harvard School of Public Health study that found cigarettes smoked in cars can generate hazardous levels of smoke in only a few minutes. She said that other states, including Arkansas and Louisiana, have banned smoking in cars with young children. Adults, Griffin said, get to make lifestyle choices, but children don't. "Our infants must be given the right to survive," she said.
Banning smoking when children are in the home or car is a no-brainer - even Philip Morris agrees. On the website of Philip Morris, for example, this cigarette producer admits that Sudden Infant Death Syndrome as well as Otits Media (painful middle ear infections) are just two documented health consequences for infants and children due to secondhand cigarette smoke exposure.
Toxic chemicals in cigarette smoke..
Related news briefs: Will Maryland ban smoking in cars when small children present.., Ireland - ban smoking in cars when kids are present..; Further evidence - STOP smoking in the presence of your children..;ASH Calls for a Debate in England on Banning Smoking in Cars with Kids; Among children with asthma, exposure to ETS is related to increased child behavior problems among boys..; U.S. - Children Remain Especially Vulnerable to Secondhand Smoke..; Maine - illegal to smoke in cars while children present.. and Vehicles Most Dangerous Space for Second-Hand Smoke Levels... For others - do a random search.
Reference: Parents can still smoke while driving
House votes down children's health bill by LAUREN R. DORGAN, Concord Monitor, 3/25/2009.