If you're parked in the school parking lot with the windows closed, a kid in the backseat, and you're just a puff, puff, puffing away on your cigarette, expect a gentle knock on the window and not-nearly-as-gentle warning to knock it off. That's right. I have no problem telling a mom with a cancer stick in hand that she's being an abusive parent.
So what do I have a problem with? The latest news that as much as 22 percent of kids are still being held hostage by smokers who decide to light up inside a vehicle. What's next? Kicking puppies? Clubbing seals? Are people really this stupid? I'm starting to think we need an actual law that forbids people from smoking around children.
Oh, I know, the smokers are going to come out and start whining at me about how their rights are being infringed on, and how we're not nearly as mean in this society to the drunks. Blah, blah, blah. Let me stop y'all right there, folks. Drunks are perfectly free to ruin their own livers, but we do, in fact, legislate that they not get into a car while tipsy in order to protect the rights of other motorists.
And so it should be with smokers. They are perfectly free to ruin their own lungs in the privacy of their own homes, but we should be perfectly free to legislate that kids' have the right to grow up free of the secondhand smoke that causes asthma, ear infections, SIDS, and eventually ... the big C.
Just think, if you took an infected needle and plunged it in your kid's arm, giving them some sort of disease, you'd probably be brought up on charges of child abuse, wouldn't you? And yet these smokers get away scot free. Now, I'm not the type of parent who throws the words "child abuse" around every time a parent does something I disagree with. But it's the new millennium, people!
If there is an American parent in this day and age who doesn't know cigarettes kill people, I don't even want to imagine what else they don't know (where babies come from maybe?). And if you know what cigarettes do, and you're still subjecting your kid to it -- either by smoking around them or letting them hop in an enclosed vehicle with another idiot smoker -- are you really any better than the creep with the infected needle? Not in my book
As it stands right now, parents have to know that secondhand smoke is hurting their kids. But so many of them are subjecting them to it anyway.
If common sense won't stop them, can a law save these poor kids?
Image via stevendepolo/Flickr