The Bangor Maine city council recently approved a smoking ban in vehicles where kids are present. This is just another step further of government taking more rights away. It’s obvious that the anti-smoking activists simply want smoking banned across the board, but they know they cannot get it banned outright all at once. They need to go in steps.
First, you get smoking banned in the workplace, then restaurants, then private clubs, then cars with children, then all commercial property, including apartments and so on and so until finally there is no place left for smokers to smoke. This is obviously the end goal.
Why does the government care so much about smoking? Activists claim it has to do with protecting workers and customers of businesses where smokers might patron and it’s a public health issue. I think that because state and local governments are wanting to take over healthcare through different universal healthcare proposals, such as Vermont’s Catamount Health, there is strong pressure on legislators and city councilors to reduce risks that citizens take in order to reduce the costs of running a government sponsored healthcare system.
Combining your government and your healthcare provider is extremely risky if you value your freedoms to engage in behavior that society may feel is risky such as smoking, sex, fatty foods, high-carb foods, caffeine, drinking, over-eatting, driving, travel, sports, and any number of other things people do on a regular basis that increase your risk to needing health services. With Catamount Health launching I would expect that there will be more and more restrictions on what we can do in Vermont. I for one do not want my insurance company being in charge of what I can and cannot do.
Unfortunately, when many people hear that government will “give” them something for free or at lower cost, they are quick to take it not realizing that anytime you give up a certain responsibility (such as getting your own healthcare coverage) there are almost always some rights given up. There’s ALWAYS a cost… or there’s no such thing as a free lunch.
The big question is at what point will citizens put their foot down and say enough is enough? Hopefully, not before it’s too late.
January 10, 2007 @ 12:00 am
But in Europe where they all have free healthcare, everybody smokes all the time. If you’re smoking in a car with kids in it, the cops SHOULD be able to stop you. Cigarette smoke is harmful. People have a right not to have to breathe or smell it. I think Bangor did the right thing.
January 18, 2007 @ 12:00 am
Hello Haik! Good to hear from you… I won’t pretend to know what it’s like to live in Europe, but from what I heard it’s not exactly the land of opportunity and freedom. Things are more regulated and taxed than here in most European countries. I’ve also heard that there’s a trend of Europe sending more of their patients to India to get procedures done.
Also, I agree that in best case scenario, it’s probably better for the children to not be in cars where cigarette smoking is present, but in reality, does it really make sense to arrest people and break up families over smoking? Would these children be better off in custody of the state than with their parents? Many poorer people use smoking as a way of calming down and reducing stress… would it be better for them to take out their anger on their children or to just smoke once in a while?
Again, I feel that the anti-smoking activists are really getting out of hand are going way to far with their crusade.
January 19, 2007 @ 12:00 am
Hi Jeremy. I agree that it wouldn’t make sense to take custody away from a parent who smokes in a car with kids, but I have no problem with a stiff fine for that. It’s not Ok to do that to your kids.
January 22, 2007 @ 12:00 am
I agree that in a perfect world it may be better if parents/people didn’t smoke, but the reality is that many parents smoke in order to deal with daily stress.
It’s a cheap and easy way of dealing with the high anxiety/stress that they may be facing at any time. Many of the smoking parents I know usually leave the window open, hold the cigarette to the window so that smokes goes outside so that their children don’t inhale all the smoke.
The smoking usually helps the parent cope with their stresses and not take it out on their children. The reality is that without smoking there most likely will be increases of verbal/physical abuse of children, which is worse than a little smoke.
Any “stiff” fines imposed will only cause more stress on families involved, causing even more danger to the childen they believe they are helping. While city councilors/legislators think they are doing a good deed, helping childen, they don’t realize the negative consequences.
Many of these city councilors/legislators are middle class/upper class people and don’t have any idea what it’s like to be poor and deal with the stresses that poor people endure. I believe that this kind of ban is a direct attack on poorer families and I do not believe it will stop with cars. Next, they will want to ban smoking in homes where children are present and then if you repeat offend, they will want to declare you unfit parents and take your children away from you.