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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Should it be illegal to smoke in front of kids?

I have no problem with people smoking, so long as they do so in the privacy of their own homes or vehicles where no one else is being forced to inhale their stale, polluted air.  However, when little kids are involved, I draw the line.

This past spring and summer I attended many t-ball games where my 5-year-old daughter and her friends participated in a friendly we-don't-keep-score-and-just-play-for-fun game of t-ball.  Yet at every single one of those games some individual kept lighting up cigarette after cigarette after cigarette, forcing me and everyone else -- including the kids -- to inhale their smoke.

I have asthma too, and the smoke bothers me.  But I'm thinking of the kids first.  I have trouble fathoming the idea that an adult, addicted or not, can't go one hour without lighting up.

Liberty means to exercise  human rights in any manner a person chooses so long as it does not interfere  with the exercise of the right of others.  Going by this, all people have a right to smoke cigarettes, but that right should stop as soon as nonsmokers are in the room.

As an adult, I can easily avoid your stale, polluted air.  However, your children cannot.  For this reason, it should, by default, be illegal to smoke in front of children.

Seriously folks, I'm not a champion for more laws, as I believe every law takes away some liberty.  However, if that law would protect innocent children, then I'm all for it.  I think it is absolutely cruel to force children to inhale polluted air because you choose to smoke cigarettes.

There are already enough studies to show that second hand smoke is harmful, and especially to asthmatic children. When I was a kid I remember suffering heartily when adults smoked around me, and I make every effort to make sure that never happens to my kids.

Now, evidence suggests that even third hand smoke, the remnants of smoke that stick to carpet and furniture, can be inhaled with consequences.  Evidence suggests it may trigger asthma, and a new study shows that it may even cause cancer.

I don't like to judge people.  I don't want to make laws forcing people to take certain actions, or not to take certain actions.  But if people are going to continue to light up around people -- people who have a natural right to inhale pure air -- then it might be time to take action against it.

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