Smoking ban could spread into Maryland vehicles with kids

Many critics call places with over-reaching government authority “nanny states.” Some worry that the state is moving more in that direction, and a new legislative proposal seeking to create a new Maryland crime supports that concern.

Various legislators from the Baltimore area want to ban smoking in private vehicles carrying children who are 8 and younger. The proposal includes fines for drivers if they or any passenger smokes with young kids in the car. Sources do not classify the type of offense it is, though it sounds like a combination of a drug crime and child endangerment.

Several legislators are crafting the law now and have garnered support from some and opposition from others. Opponents of the law argue that government limits on personal freedom should require a very rigid test regarding necessity. Secondhand smoke may not meet that standard. No matter what popularity a particular habit enjoys, if it’s legal, citizens have a right to their freedom.

Considerations of these limits to personal freedom always end with the same question: What’s next? The environment is full of dangerous gases, chemicals, substances and people, but no one ever promised that life is risk-free. Moderation is what’s important, and lawmakers could learn a lesson in legislating with moderation.

What do you think of the proposed law that would prohibit smoking while children are in a vehicle? Would that lead to further violations of freedoms, such as banning parents from smoking in their homes?


Catonsville Times: “Bill would ban smoking with young passengers in car,” Steve Schuster, 9 Mar. 2011

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