Here is an important notice to uncaring parents who plan on driving through the city of Leduc after July 2, 2011: don’t.
Leduc has become only the second municipality in Alberta to enact a bylaw against smoking in cars with children present. If you are caught smoking in your car with children present, you will be liable for a fine of $100 for the first offense, $200 for the second, and confiscation of your children for the third.
Just kidding about that last part. But the fines are the real deal.
I’m torn about this. As a non-smoker and a longtime parent, I am always amazed and appalled when I see a mom or dad lighting up in a car with their precious little cargo secured in a car seat behind them. (The irony of securing a child for his safety, while filling his delicate little lungs with second-hand smoke, apparently escapes these people.) I would love to walk up to these people and give them a stern talking to, or at least a fierce scowling. But I’m kind of a coward, so the most I would do is a slow, sad shake of the head that says: “Shame on you. Shame.”
Of course it’s wrong to smoke in a car with a child present. Even smokers know that, and the very fact that they have chosen to smoke proves they are maybe not the brightest lights in the chandelier. But does the state (or in this case, the small city) have any right to pull these people over and give them a ticket?
Smoking while driving with a kid in the car is bad for the health of the child, to be sure, and even worse for the health of the driver. But let’s be honest: if someone is going to smoke and drive, then they are also going to be smoking in their homes. If we’re going to legislate against smoking in cars with kids, is the next step legislating against smoking in your home with kids? I mean, if your car is your personal property, and you’re technically not doing anything illegal or unsafe to others (like driving drunk) does the state have the right to punish you for being a stupid parent?
I think not. I hate to see people smoking in their cars with kids (although, to be perfectly honest, you rarely see it), but there are limits to how far the state should go in poking its nose into private lives. And this, I think, is one of those times that goes too far.
What do you think? Feel free to click on the little ‘comment’ button below and leave your thoughts.