More Smoking Parents in Cars Mean More Smoking Kids

Christie Haskell
31

I used to smoke. It's not a fact I'm proud of, by any means, and I'm very grateful I quit, even if I haven't saved a dime since my coffee addiction took over in place of nicotine. But when I did smoke, not smoking in the car with my kiddo, or in the house, or where he'd be breathing it in, period, was kind of a no-brainer.

When I saw parents in parking lots with a baby or children in the back of their car, and they lit up in the front, I pegged them automatically, and not very kindly. I mean, who DOES that?!

Well, according to a presentation at the Pediatric Academic Societies annual convention in Denver, a lot of people "do that" and I'm pretty disgusted.

It's not the '70s anymore. The fact that cigarette smoke is terrible for everyone around you is a widely known FACT. Also widely known is that smoking in an enclosed space forces everyone else around you to smoke with you.

Kiddo's smaller airways and sensitive systems mean that they're much more affected by smoke -- including but not limited to causing asthma, asthma ATTACKS, and severe upper respiratory infections. It also makes your baby more likely to die of SIDS.

Considering I support restaurant bans and banning smoking in apartment buildings that have indoor hallways since it's been shown that smoke from your neighbor ends up in your home and body, it should be no surprise that I totally support a ban of smoking in cars with minors as well. And remember, like I said, I did smoke. And yet even then, I supported these bans.

But after seeing the numbers of this abstract on the dangers of smoking in a car with kids, I'm even more gung-ho about the ban, because you see, like I said, I expected the number of parents who smoked in a car with their babies to be rather low. I'm not surprised that a lot of people smoke when their baby isn't there, without considering that the baby then breathes the secondhand smoke that's on their car seat ... but actually smoking IN the car, with the baby there? What would you guess ... 15 percent of smokers? Maybe 10 percent?

Try 52 percent.

And only 14 percent said their pediatrician had ever suggested they not smoke in their car with their baby there.

Now, the AAP's not calling for a ban ... yet ... but frankly, I think they should. I know, there are tons of people who think it's a slippery slope into personal rights, but what about children's rights? We don't allow parents to give them alcohol, drugs, medications that aren't in their names, but cigarette smoke is toxic and shown to without a doubt cause long-term medical problems. What more do we need to decide that parents who can't make this decision themselves, intelligently, should be made to? It's like seatbelt and car seat laws ... if you want to kill yourself, be my guest, but don't take your kids with you.

Would you support a ban of smoking in cars with minors present?


Image via aplysia_06/Flickr

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