Smoking Bans in Cars with Children

Smoking Bans in Cars with Children
Secondhand smoke has been proven harmful for everyone of all ages—from newborns and kids to adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), any exposure to secondhand smoke is dangerous. This is especially true of smoking in a vehicle in the presence of small children.

Earlier this month, there was a Facebook post declaring that from October 1st it would be against the law in the U.S. to smoke with anyone underage in the car. A little research (Snopes) showed this article was sadly fictitious. However, additional research led to reliable information about current laws in the U.S. and other countries, along with exactly why smoking in a car with kids is dangerous.

What’s Wrong with Smoking in Your Car?
Many studies have shown that smoking in the confinement of your car exposes you and your passengers to extremely condensed levels of nicotine and carcinogens found in cigarette smoke. According to the CDC, cigarette smoke contains about 4,000 different chemicals, 70 of which are known carcinogens for humans.

Think about that for a minute. Every time you or someone else smokes in your car, you’re sitting in a polluted fog that can cause life-threatening diseases such as asthma, emphysema, and cancer.

This foggy pollution settles onto all the surfaces inside your car, including the dashboard, seats, car seats and anything left in the car. Researchers found it next to impossible to clean the substances and particles left after smoking. Anything you or your kids touch in the car will contain harmful chemicals. This was especially troubling for kids—their car seats are covered in dangerous chemicals and anything they touch and put in their mouths introduces these chemicals into their bodies.

Study by Harvard School of Public Health
The Harvard School of Public Health did a study in 2006 on smoking in closed vehicles. They found the air quality in a car, when someone’s smoking, quickly rises to levels considered hazardous the the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Even just smoking one cigarette for five minutes caused dangerous air quality. This was also true when one or more of the vehicle’s windows are open. The study showed that smoking in a vehicle was bad for both kids and adults.

Secondhand Smoke & Our Health
Secondhand smoke can cause a myriad of diseases and conditions in both kids and adults. In kids, exposure to secondhand smoke can cause:

• Miscarriage and premature birth
• Lower birth weight
• Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
• Learning problems and Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
• Ear infections
• Coughs and Colds
• Respiratory problems, including asthma, bronchitis, etc.
• Poor lung development

Secondhand smoke causes some of the same issues for adults, including:

• Respiratory problems, including asthma, emphysema, COPD, lung cancer and more
• Cardiovascular disease
• Cataracts

US Legislation Against Smoking in Cars with Children
There are currently eight states and one territory with laws against smoking in cars with children:

Puerto Rico

In addition, there are some scattered cities, towns, and counties with their own laws against smoking in a vehicle with children. Each law has its own set of age restrictions and fines. At this time, no national legislation exists in the U.S. against secondhand smoke exposure for kids in vehicles.

Several countries around the world have instituted smoking bans for vehicles with children:

• New South
• Wales
• South
• Australia
• Queensland
• Tasmania
• Victoria
• Western
• Australia
• Northern
• Territory
South Africa
United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom

Keep Your Kids Away From All Smoke
If your locale doesn’t ban smoking in vehicles with kids, here’s what you can do:

1). If you smoke, stop.

2). Don’t smoke in the car, period.

3). Ensure your kids travel in smoke-free vehicles and make sure anyone who drives your kids doesn’t smoke or at least doesn’t smoke in the car.

4). Don’t allow anyone to smoke in your car, even with the windows down.

The best way to keep you and your kids healthy is to avoid all smoke as much as possible—at home and in public.

Smoking bans are often seen as violations of our rights and private lives. Certainly, people have a right to smoke, but people who don’t smoke also have the right to smoke-free air.

Smoking and secondhand smoke have been proven to directly impact the health of those who smoke and those who don’t. Children are especially susceptible to developing health problems at a very young age. Completely avoiding smoke is the only way to keep you and your kids from developing asthma and other serious health problems.

Please check out my new book Asthma's Nothing to Wheeze At!

Now also available on Amazon Asthma's Nothing to Wheeze At!

You Should Also Read:
Secondhand Smoke Dangerous for Asthmatics
Public Smoking Bans--Rights and Freedoms
Indoor Wood Burning and Asthma

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