Thursday, November 30, 2006

3229 Smoking bans and children

We're sure to see more laws created to protect children from their parents' smoking, both in the home and in automobiles. USAToday carried the story that a number of states already prohibit foster parents from smoking around their charges. But I'm sure it is only a matter of time before it will be considered a form of child abuse to make children breathe cigarette smoke--from your mouth to their lungs. Although I don't think smoking should be illegal, I do believe children need to be protected, both in the womb and in the room.

"Former smoker Bob Mathis, a Democratic state representative in Arkansas, sponsored a law that bars smoking in a car carrying a child young enough to require a car seat. It took effect in July. A violator can be fined $25 but can get out of it with proof of participation in a smoking-cessation program. A similar law took effect in Louisiana in August.

"We have laws on the books in every state of the union against child abuse," Mathis says. "This is a form of child abuse."

At least six states and some counties prohibit foster parents from smoking when foster children are present, says Kathleen Dachille, director of the Legal Resource Center for Tobacco Regulation, Litigation & Advocacy at the University of Maryland School of Law. "There are times when it's appropriate to regulate what people can do in their home," she says. "The state is responsible for that child."

Some courts are ordering parents in custody and visitation disputes not to smoke around their kids."

I think I noted before at this blog that my husband, who has never smoked, coughed like a smoker every morning for several years into adulthood, after living for 18 years in a home where both his parents smoked, as well as all their friends and relatives.

I had lunch with a friend today, and when I turned down a bite of brownie dessert, I compared it to some people and cigarettes. She nodded and said she had quit smoking 15 years ago, and knew if she smoked even one, she would start again, the addiction was that strong. Her husband also quit 15 years ago, but too late and has COPD.

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