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Should it be illegal to smoke in a car with kids?
South Carolina lawmakers are debating whether they ought to ban smoking when children are in the back seat
A driver in South Carolina who lights up a cigarette while there is a child in the car could face a $25 fine under a new law.
A driver in South Carolina who lights up a cigarette while there is a child in the car could face a $25 fine under a new law.
CC BY: joka2000
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he automobile, one of the last refuges of the smoker, is under siege in South Carolina, where state lawmakers are considering a ban on lighting up if you're in a car with a small child. Smokers would face a $25 fine if they're caught with a lit cigarette in a car carrying children 6 or younger, or 80 pounds or lighter (those who may still need a car seat). Is this just a sensible precaution to protect kids from second-hand smoke, or a heavy-handed violation of smokers' rights?

If anything, this ban doesn't go far enough: Doctors say second-hand smoke can increase a kid's chances of getting ear infections, allergies, asthma, and other ailments, says Carolyn Castiglia at Strollerderby. So instead of a cut-off at age 6, why not prohibit smoking when a child of any age is in the car? We tell people they can't drink or use a cell phone when they drive — if smoking in the car is hurting kids, we should regulate that, too.
"Should adults be banned from smoking around kids?"

This is just another nanny state overreach: We're heading down a slippery slope here, says South Carolinian Barry DeHaven, as quoted by the Associated Press. Once we let the government tell us we can't smoke in cars for the sake of children's health, what will stop lawmakers from telling people "they can't smoke in their homes"?  That's the logical next step, and it "strikes me as vastly unconstitutional."
"S.C. bill would bar smoking when a kid is in the car"

It won't be easy to pass a law like this: "This bill is a great idea," say the editors of The Digitel Charleston. But there are a lot of people who will see this as a violation of "individual rights." Keeping parents from "puffing away" in the car will be an "uphill battle." But who knows? A Republican senator in this conservative, business-friendly state just "spearheaded" a restaurant recycling bill, so anything is technically possible. 
"New South Carolina bill aims to ban smoking in car with kids"

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