Should NH ban smoking with kids in cars? - 1241 responses

Mar 03, 2015

Is smoking in cars with minor children a crime, a parent's right, or simply a bad idea? That's the question raised by a bill currently being considered by the NH Senate (SB 162), which would make the practice a secondary offense, subject to a $100 fine. On March 3rd, the Live Free or Die Alliance (LFDA) put the question to its 50,000 Facebook members, sparking a passionate debate.

Answers to the question, "Do you support or oppose a bill that would make smoking in cars with children a secondary offense?" resulted in a close split. A slight 55% majority of those who answered the question weighed in against the bill, with 45% in favor. Twenty percent of the total  respondents opted not to give a yes or no response, instead addressing their comments to broader issues. In sum, the LFDA received 431 specific comments and 810 concurrences for a total of 1241 responses. 

Most of those opposed to the bill argued that, while they disapproved of the practice, it should not be made illegal. "I have told other people when there are kids in my car smoking is not allowed but that is my choice, not the government's," one respondent said. "Parents careless enough to do so in a car with their children will likely do so in their private residence as well," another pointed out. Some commenters argued that such laws constituted a "slippery slope" that could lead to government intervention in other realms that should remain an individual's choice. 

Those in favor of the bill argued that, as children were unable to protect themselves from the ill effects of secondhand smoke, it was the government's responsibility to step in. "If someone is smoking with kids in the car, then those kids need a law telling the adult to not smoke," a respondent said. "It's too bad we have to have a law for something so obvious," argued another. Some commenters went further, calling for the practice to be made a first offense or for smoking around children in any location to be banned. 

Broader comments on the question ranged from citing similar laws in neighboring states, to expressing general disapproval of smoking around children without voicing an opinion on the proposed law. "It may be legal, but it's not fair to the child," one commenter noted. 

Click here to read the full Facebook discussion of this question. 

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