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Fining smokers who expose children to second hand smoke

 
 
rabel22
 
  1  
Reply Fri 24 Aug, 2007 02:36 pm
I smoked for 30 years. If you people think smoking isn't detrimental to the smoker and the people around them than you aren't doing much reading to say nothing of learning from past expreance. Its just as bad for your children as for you in an enclosed area. The 100 dollar fine is excessive but as one person said if they can enforce the seat belt law this should be a snap.
0 Replies
 
fishin
 
  1  
Reply Fri 24 Aug, 2007 03:45 pm
They should fine the State every time a child is exposed to excess air pollution. That'd raise the living standard around LA in a heartbeat.
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Fri 24 Aug, 2007 04:22 pm
Seems to me that the issue is not centered on whether or not second-hand smoking is harmful to kids. Does anyone question that it is? The extent of the harm is certainly subject to debate, but there's too much evidence that there is harm and it rises above a mosquito bite.

The more important issue is at what point does the State intrude upon parental rights.

The State should not allow parents to murder their children. Most of us will agree.

The State should not allow parents to torture their children. Most of us will agree.

The State should not allow parents to neglect their children's welfare to the extent that they are placed in real and present danger. Most of us will agree.

The State should not allow parents to deprive their children of a basic education. Most of us will agree, but let's take a step back and consider. Withoutdoubt the health and happiness of the child will be thwarted or impeded by murder, torture or extreme neglect. Can the same be said about failing to provide a education? I don't think so. This intrusion upon parental rights is motivated more by the benefit to society of an educate populace, than any benefit to the individual. Fine, society has a right to impose regulations that benefit it over the individual. This is the price of being a member of society. How far, though, can society go?

The next question is whether or not busybody universal nannies are, with their mad desire to intefere, serving the interests of society or their own egos?

The next question is whether or not we believe the judgment of the State is ever more reliable and accurate than that of The Reasonable Man (or woman)?

"A slippery slope" tends to be overused, but here we have one.

The final question is whether or not one believes the State can restrain its inate desire to intrude?

Is it really that far-fetched to suggest that the next wave of intrusion will include prohibitions on feeding your kids fast-food, allowing them to watch violence on TV, or getting drunk in their presence?

No human drawn line can be absolute in its demarcation.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 24 Aug, 2007 05:28 pm
I agree with much of that, especially in terms of figuring out which side of the divide this falls on. There are issues that require state interference, and issues that don't. This is clearly close to the line, but on which side?

Where do people here stand on child seatbelt laws? I do see this as roughly analogous. It's about demonstrated harm, and whether reasonable people can be trusted to take steps to prevent that harm, without being compelled.

(I'm not sure what I think of them, myself. I find them annoying but fairly easy to comply with, and I know that the stats are impressive in terms of how many deaths/ injuries they've prevented in car accidents.)
0 Replies
 
mysteryman
 
  1  
Reply Fri 24 Aug, 2007 07:07 pm
dagmaraka wrote:
you mean theoretical harm of second hand smoking? i don't know how much actual harm it does to any given child, i suppose it would also depend on the amount of smoking child is exposed to. i guess i'd need to see more data to form any conclusive opinion.

but in theory, if it's choosing between the right of a smoker to smoke and the right of a child to be protected, i'd of course go with the child. even if the harm is small. but i see what you're saying.


But where does it end?
If the state can pass a law like this,whats next?
Are they gonna say that you cant smoke in your own home,if a child lives there?

This kind of law just seems stupid to me,and I dont smoke.
0 Replies
 
McGentrix
 
  1  
Reply Sat 25 Aug, 2007 08:06 am
Remember, it takes a village to raise a child. Parents are too stupid to do it themselves now.
0 Replies
 
FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Sat 25 Aug, 2007 09:12 am
sozobe wrote:
Quote:

Harvard School of Public Health

Secondhand smoke in cars may lead to dangerous levels of contaminants for children
Study found concentrations rated 'hazardous' by EPA

Boston, MA -- Secondhand tobacco smoke (SHS) can have harmful effects on children. Some of the adverse health outcomes include a greater likelihood of ear infections, lower respiratory infections, sudden infant death syndrome and severity of asthma symptoms. It is estimated that 35% to 45% of children are regularly exposed to SHS from adults using tobacco in homes and cars. To date, there has been little research on SHS in cars.

In the first study to measure SHS in cars in real driving conditions, Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) researchers have shown that smoking in cars can produce unsafe levels of SHS. Even with the driver's window slightly open, mean respirable suspended particles (RSP) concentrations hit levels rated "hazardous" by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In the study, concentrations of 272 µg/m3 were measured, with a peak level of 505 µg/m3. In comparison, the EPA's air quality index rates concentrations of more than 40 µg/m3 as "unhealthy for sensitive groups," such as children and the elderly, and more than 250 µg/m3 as "hazardous" for the general population. The results showed that smoking a single cigarette for just five minutes could produce potentially harmful RSP levels. Given the levels the researchers observed, SHS in cars poses a potentially serious threat to children's health.

The authors hope that their findings will encourage renewed efforts to promote smoke-free environments for children both in cars and homes. The study will be published in the November 2006 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine and is available online now at http://www.ajpm-online.net/webfiles/images/journals/amepre/1751.pdf.


http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2006-10/hsop-ssi100506.php

Seems like the harm has been demonstrated. That's just one article but seems reputable (Harvard School of Public Health).

I agree that the enforceability looks difficult, but I'd imagine it'd be about the same as enforcing seatbelt laws. I don't really buy the stuff about "next they'll be outlawing adults smoking alone in cars...!" I'm a lot more laissez-faire when it comes to people endangering their own health than endangering children's health, and this seems focused on the latter.


I guess I need a little bit more convincing. While that study appears to bolster the case for harm, I still wouldn't call it demonstrable. And maybe the authors of the article thought of that when they used the word "may" in the title. For starters, the numbers they report in the article are those for "closed ventilation" -- drivers side window open 5cm and no AC or other ventilation. The numbers for "open ventilation", described as all 4 windows being halfway open were way lower. In addition, this is one study conducted in one part of the country during the summer in the city. It simulates one set of driving conditions. If we legislate based on this study it will still be based on theoretical harm. Theoretically, if a driver were driving a relatively small car (Tercel or Civic) and smoking in Boston going 30 to 40 mph with all windows closed except the cracked drivers side window and no AC or heat or air circulation on, then yes, they are allowing/causing unsafe air conditions for their child for a period of 5 minutes per cigarette (roughly). But in every other case? Other parts of the country? Different speeds or different sized cars?

I don't know, it could be that in all cases it is unsafe for children. It just seems to me like more studies are required. If indeed smoking in a car with a child, no matter what mitigating behaviors one employs to minimize the smoke inside the car, produces unsafe levels then I'd say go ahead and legislate. It just doesn't seem like that's been proven. And if there are things that smokers can do to keep the air quality in their cars safe for their kids while they smoke then maybe a better approach is a massive education campaign on what those things are.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 25 Aug, 2007 09:51 am
I'm convinceable either way in terms of whether it is harmful. This study seems to have been with windows open, though, if "slightly":

Quote:
Even with the driver's window slightly open, mean respirable suspended particles (RSP) concentrations hit levels rated "hazardous" by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In the study, concentrations of 272 µg/m3 were measured, with a peak level of 505 µg/m3. In comparison, the EPA's air quality index rates concentrations of more than 40 µg/m3 as "unhealthy for sensitive groups," such as children and the elderly, and more than 250 µg/m3 as "hazardous" for the general population.


I don't really see much wiggle room there. With the window slightly open -- and smoking for only 5 minutes -- the concentrations reached levels rated hazardous by the EPA.

This was just the first study I found in a quick Google search, there could be many more. Or maybe other studies contradict that one -- again, I'm open-minded. My main point was actually that there seem to be studies out there, so why not go find them rather than speculating whether it's harmful or not?

At any rate, there seem to be two different debates here. 1) Is second-hand smoke in a car actually dangerous for kids? and 2) If it is, should the practice be banned?

Again, I think the question of seatbelt laws for children is pertinent in terms of #2.

I don't really have a firm opinion here one way or another yet, just noting some stuff.
0 Replies
 
FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Sat 25 Aug, 2007 12:15 pm
I'm open to persuasion too. But just to be clear -- the numbers in the article (that exceeded EPA standards) weren't for windows (plural) open, they were for the smoker's side window open 5 centimeters. That sounds like a window cracked. I looked at the actual study and they have a chart showing the difference between the worst results (window cracked) and those with all four windows halfway open.

Quote:

The three smoking conditions were
nonsmoking baseline, active smoking, and immediate post-
smoking period. The two ventilation conditions were em-
ployed to represent likely real-life driving conditions. Venti-
lation "open" required all four windows to be lowered half
way, or approximately 25 cm.
This arrangement allowed for a
high degree of air flow. Ventilation "closed" required only the
smoker's side window to be lowered 5 cm.
It is plausible that
this setting is often used by smokers under inclement weather
conditions, such as rain or cold. The chosen ventilation
conditions therefore reflected a range of driver ventilation
settings that were easily replicable.


The study itself clearly states that ventilation makes all the difference.

Quote:
As expected, RSP levels
were higher under the closed-windows condition than
with windows open. The observed interaction between
ventilation and smoking phase suggests that greater
increases in mean RSP level following smoking were
found under the closed-ventilation condition, which
further underscores the role of (external) ventilation
on air quality.
While smoking, mean RSP concentrations of 272
0 Replies
 
FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Sat 25 Aug, 2007 12:22 pm
I think my copying and pasting broke my post. Here's the rest of it.

Quote:
While smoking, mean RSP concentrations of 272 g/m3 (closed) and 51 g/m3 (open) were attained,
with even higher peak levels observed briefly (505 g/m3 closed, and 104 g/m3 open).


51 is still high, but not nearly as alarming as 272.

It doesn't take a scientific study to convince me that driving around in a car that is virtually completely shut while smoking with a child (or anyone else for that matter) isn't healthy. But I'm not convinced that just the act of lighting up in a car, any car, with a child in it causes definite harm to that child. I see a lot of distance between "air is unhealthy for children in a shut up Tercel while smoking" and "we need to fine people for smoking in cars if there are children present". It seems like there are too many variables to make such legislation fair, justifiable, and enforceable.

So that's the first argument -- is second hand smoke in cars necessarily hazardous to children. I say it can be but that's enough to justify legislation over some other means of convincing parents not to do it -- which is the second argument. I could be convinced otherwise, though, if ventilation were no help or if some other harm were demonstrated.
0 Replies
 
dagmaraka
 
  1  
Reply Sat 25 Aug, 2007 12:25 pm
Other means, like mandatory ventilation or something? Wouldn't that be even harder to enforce and monitor?
Plus, probably costly if it required to have anything installed in the car. This might be prejudiced, but the primary smokers-with-kids-in-the-car will not be from the affluent class.
0 Replies
 
happycat
 
  1  
Reply Sat 25 Aug, 2007 12:26 pm
fishin wrote:
They should fine the State every time a child is exposed to excess air pollution. That'd raise the living standard around LA in a heartbeat.


^ 5's on that one!!

There was a cartoon in the paper this morning of a kid dressed in a contamination suit at a playground. I can see that becoming a reality....in California. Rolling Eyes
0 Replies
 
FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Sat 25 Aug, 2007 12:32 pm
dagmaraka wrote:
Other means, like mandatory ventilation or something? Wouldn't that be even harder to enforce and monitor?
Plus, probably costly if it required to have anything installed in the car. This might be prejudiced, but the primary smokers-with-kids-in-the-car will not be from the affluent class.


Other means besides legislation. Something that doesn't require enforcing or monitoring. Like an educational campaign.
0 Replies
 
CerealKiller
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Aug, 2007 03:13 am
McGentrix wrote:
It amazes me that any kids at all survived the 50's. No seat belt or car seat laws, both parents smoking...


I know you're being sarcastic, but why don't you look up the fatality rate for each of those subjects? How many more people die because of not wearing belts? Or how many infacts die because their parents smoke? How many kids get severe brain damage and/or die because of a lack of head protection?
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Aug, 2007 08:53 am
FreeDuck wrote:
dagmaraka wrote:
Other means, like mandatory ventilation or something? Wouldn't that be even harder to enforce and monitor?
Plus, probably costly if it required to have anything installed in the car. This might be prejudiced, but the primary smokers-with-kids-in-the-car will not be from the affluent class.


Other means besides legislation. Something that doesn't require enforcing or monitoring. Like an educational campaign.

How effective have educational campaigns been on issues like these before?

On a more specific note, wouldnt the parents most likely to respond to educational campaigns be the ones that already wouldnt smoke in an unventilated car when they're with a kid, anyway? Eg, wouldnt the parents most likely to expose their kids to health risks like those also be the ones least likely to respond to something like an educational campaign?
0 Replies
 
FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Aug, 2007 09:04 am
nimh wrote:

How effective have educational campaigns been on issues like these before?


I don't know. The campaign that comes to mind is the recent "back to sleep" campaign where they are trying to educate all mothers to put their babies to sleep on their backs. I guess we could see how successful that's been and extrapolate.

Of course, I wonder the same thing about legislation -- how effective would it be and how would you even measure its effectiveness? What is it that we're trying to reduce, specifically? For the back to sleep campaign it was crib deaths, would it be childhood asthma or something similar in this case? That's how I'm coming at this whole thing and why maybe I'm being so obstinate. It's not clear to me what problem exactly we are trying to solve with this legislation.

Quote:
On a more specific note, wouldnt the parents most likely to respond to educational campaigns be the ones that already wouldnt smoke in an unventilated car when they're with a kid, anyway? Eg, wouldnt the parents most likely to expose their kids to health risks like those also be the ones least likely to respond to something like an educational campaign?


I don't know. But that's a good question to ask either and any approach. I tend to think that most people, regardless of their flaws, would not willingly make their child sick. And if they could do something relatively simple, like make sure all the windows are down while they're smoking or not smoking at all in cars or around their kids to prevent that, they will. But what do I know?
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Aug, 2007 10:09 am
FreeDuck wrote:
Of course, I wonder the same thing about legislation -- how effective would it be and how would you even measure its effectiveness?

You would measure it by compliance. And Soz has already brought up seat belts as a comparative example a few times. Legislation plus enforcement seem to have had great effect there, and compliance can be measured.

FreeDuck wrote:
Quote:
On a more specific note, wouldnt the parents most likely to respond to educational campaigns be the ones that already wouldnt smoke in an unventilated car when they're with a kid, anyway? Eg, wouldnt the parents most likely to expose their kids to health risks like those also be the ones least likely to respond to something like an educational campaign?

I don't know. But that's a good question to ask either and any approach.

Why is that a good question for both approaches? Do you think that the people who wouldnt respond to an educational campaign would also not respond to laws and stiff fines?

I dunno.. I think that those people would be a lot more likely to respond to fines than to leaflets.

FreeDuck wrote:
I tend to think that most people, regardless of their flaws, would not willingly make their child sick. And if they could do something relatively simple, like make sure all the windows are down while they're smoking or not smoking at all in cars or around their kids to prevent that, they will.

Well, quite. I'd also think that after all the brouhaha about smoking, most parents already dont smoke in their cars when they're with their kid, or would at least go out of their way to open all the windows etc. So the smokers you're left with - if you would want to do something about it - are those that don't just act on general good intentions alone. So that would actually be an argument in favour of resorting to legislation - cause the people who are not like the "most people" you describe are hardly going to be swayed by health commercials..

FreeDuck wrote:
It's not clear to me what problem exactly we are trying to solve with this legislation.

The harm of second-hand smoke to children - in this case second-hand smoke in cars.

It's of course discussable whether the harm of the second hand smoke that children get in cars, specifically, is even halfway substantive enough to warrant intervention by the authorities. But that second-hand smoke is harmful to children is a given, isnt it?

I dunno, I think there's three questions here, then.

Question 1), is there an effect of second-hand smoke in cars on children, and how big is it?

Question 2), does the extent of the effect justify government intervention?

Question 3), should one agree that it does: are there alternatives to legislation -- would an educational campaign, for example, also work?

My take:

1) Soz quickly Googled up a link to research that does imply that it can be serious, depending on how many windows are open how much. And the range appears to be going from little impact to serious impact - there doesnt seem to be an option that no harm is involved at all.

That's just one piece of research, of course - there might well be lots more. Since I dont smoke and have no children, I'm too lazy to look it up. But based on Soz's post I'd accept that yes, the impact can, at least, be quite serious, so it is an issue.

2) I believe strongly that parents don't "own" their children and that the community bears responsibility for the welfare of its children. On the other hand I'm very sceptical about today's apparent belief that all and any risk should be organized away. I think children are already being raised in an ever more oppressive bubble of rules and protections - a bit of relativation, already!

So yeah, I dunno. Undecided.

3) If one were to decide that yes, it's serious enough to justify some kind of intervention, I'm sceptical about a call for educational campaigns instead of legislation.

They work in tandem - legislation isnt going to be enforceable unless there is also an educational campaign, so the police will only need to stop the incorrigable people, so to say. But an educational campaign by itself? Thats always been the tobacco industry's line, hasnt it. "Dont legislate, let people solve this by their own!" But it never did seem to work until legislation became involved.

Its like those warnings on cigarette packets - does anybody give a toss? Smoking is an addiction, so I'm gonna say that leaflets alone arent going to change anyone's behavior - the people who would listen would already be behaving accordingly anyway.

So I dont know whether the state should do anything about this, but if you agree that it should, then I dont think that educational campaigns or the like are a realistic alternative.
0 Replies
 
FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Aug, 2007 10:42 am
Regarding seat belts, the idea behind that was to reduce traffic fatalities, right? That's something you can measure to know whether the law is having a positive effect. The measure of the usefulness of legislation, IMO, is not in whether or not people comply with it.

Quote:
Question 1), is there an effect of second-hand smoke in cars on children, and how big is it?

Question 2), does the extent of the effect justify government intervention?

Question 3), should one agree that it does: are there alternatives to legislation -- would an educational campaign, for example, also work?


I think this is what I have been saying. If not, then I have been expressing myself poorly.

Quote:

2) I believe strongly that parents don't "own" their children and that the community bears responsibility for the welfare of its children. On the other hand I'm very sceptical about today's apparent belief that all and any risk should be organized away. I think children are already being raised in an ever more oppressive bubble of rules and protections - a bit of relativation, already!


Agreed for the most part. I think there's a lot of gray area in that first sentence but there's no need to go there.

Quote:

3) If one were to decide that yes, it's serious enough to justify some kind of intervention, I'm sceptical about a call for educational campaigns instead of legislation.


Fair enough. I'm undecided on the best approach, partly because I don't think it's clear how serious the problem is.

Quote:

Its like those warnings on cigarette packets - does anybody give a toss? Smoking is an addiction, so I'm gonna say that leaflets alone arent going to change anyone's behavior - the people who would listen would already be behaving accordingly anyway.


But smoking has gone down significantly over the last 10 years or so. So would you say that was due to the higher taxes on cigarettes or the massive negative campaign (which involves more than leaflets, btw) against smoking and its ill effects?

Quote:
So I dont know whether the state should do anything about this, but if you agree that it should, then I dont think that educational campaigns or the like are a realistic alternative.


I don't know either. And if I ever do agree that it should I would have to look at the seriousness of the problem and the goal of any action to know whether I could support it. As it is, without a quantifiable objective I think we're just pissing in the wind.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Aug, 2007 10:46 am
Re: Fining smokers who expose children to second hand smoke
CerealKiller wrote:
How do you feel about this?

Next up: fining people for feeding their children chocolate -- because everyone knows how dangerous childhood obesity is. Rolling Eyes
0 Replies
 
FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Aug, 2007 10:48 am
nimh wrote:
FreeDuck wrote:
I tend to think that most people, regardless of their flaws, would not willingly make their child sick. And if they could do something relatively simple, like make sure all the windows are down while they're smoking or not smoking at all in cars or around their kids to prevent that, they will.

Well, quite. I'd also think that after all the brouhaha about smoking, most parents already dont smoke in their cars when they're with their kid, or would at least go out of their way to open all the windows etc. So the smokers you're left with - if you would want to do something about it - are those that don't just act on general good intentions alone. So that would actually be an argument in favour of resorting to legislation - cause the people who are not like the "most people" you describe are hardly going to be swayed by health commercials..


It would also be an argument for doing nothing provided that the smokers who are left would be relatively few and assuming that they also blow smoke around their kids at home. Giving them a fine for driving the kid around in a toxic car isn't going to have much impact if the kid goes home to a toxic house. And then we're on Finn's slippery slope.
0 Replies
 
 

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