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Should Smoking Be Banned in Cars?

Should Smoking Be Banned in Cars?

British doctors are calling for a ban on smoking in vehicles as part of the UK’s efforts to have “a tobacco-free society by 2035.” Should the US propose a similar ban?

It’s already against the law to smoke in buses, taxis and other public vehicles in the UK. Yesterday, the British Medical Association (BMA) issued a report outlining three ways in which that law could be extended to private vehicles:

  • The ban could apply only to cars carrying children.
  • The ban could apply to any car with a passenger of any age.
  • The ban could apply to all vehicles at all times.

The BMA favors the third option as it would be the most easy to enforce; a complete ban seems most likely to provide the greatest benefits to everyone’s health. Secondhand smoke gets especially concentrated inside a vehicle: 23 children 4,000 adults are estimated to die each year because of the effects of secondhand smoke in the UK.†Furthermore, “fiddling” with cigarettes poses another distraction to drivers. British police are already able to write tickets for drivers who are distracted by smoking.

Drivers in California already cannot smoke if there are passengers under the age of 18. Five of Australia’s six states have bans on smoking in cars with teens or children and, in South Africa, it is illegal to smoke if there are children 12 and under in your car.

Tobacco smoke contains 4,000 known chemicals, 69 of which are known or probable carcinogens so, if you’re in a car with the windows shut and someone is smoking, you and all those carcinogens are sealed in together. The dangers of smoking are certainly well-known: smoking raises the risk of lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema and many other diseases. According to the BMA, children are even more vulnerable to secondhand smoke than adults due to their immune systems being less developed; they actually ďabsorb more pollutants because of their size.”

Given all this, you’d think it would be hard not to ban smoking in all vehicles. But should such a ban be proposed in the US, you can already hear the objections about government imposing its legislative arm on individual freedoms. After all, what better represents Americans’ sense of their personal freedom and individual rights than doing whatever they d**n well please in their privacy of their own cars?

Should there be an all-out ban on smoking in vehicles in the US? Would it be worthwhile to start by proposing a ban on smoking in vehicles with children?


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7:15AM PDT on Apr 18, 2014

All out ban of smoking in cars!

7:45AM PST on Jan 16, 2013


7:44AM PST on Jan 16, 2013

They tell you what toilet paper to use next. If I fancy smoking in my car I bloody well will be doing just hat.

5:11AM PST on Jan 15, 2013

This is a must since others are forced to smoke

2:34PM PST on Dec 8, 2012

Jain B although most of your coments sound like one long fart, the usual sound of air escaping from an arsehole, I suggest you practice what you preach after your 3 ranting verses & get a life. However being a smoker -as I am- I expect you wont. Perhaps go park a large sock in your flapping gums.

12:12PM PST on Dec 8, 2012

HEY PEOPLE, I have just had a BRILLIANT thought (whilst smoking a butt by the way!) As all these people who are picking on smokers why do they not do the following =
1/: Smoke Free Zone = Their own home.
2/: They all have a computer, (we can all see that because they are making these posts online) so why not order all their groceries/clothes and everything else they need ONLINE - No requirement to go out of their Smoke Free Zone.(Only problem I can see here is the Delivery Driver may be a Smoker, but then if so, these Strange people can put on their oxygen tank and mask, run outside and collect their own order and then run back into their own SFZone. (Problem = My young son has just said "They would have to make sure their neighbour did not have a camera around, as the neighbour might take a photo and the following week = Front page news in local paper "BEWARE, STRANGE WOMAN RUNNING AROUND NEIGHBOURHOOD"
3/: As they all complain about the smoke getting in through their car windows, take the Bus - No Smoking on the bus, plus windows on bus are higher than the cars, so the smoke would not enter the windows!
4/:Invite their Non smoking friends around by sending them each an email.
5/:Get rid of the car!
6/:Leave other people alone and find something else to fill their Selfish, Small minded little heads with.

11:48AM PST on Dec 8, 2012

Does anyone notice, but MOST of the complaints are from females, you know the ones I am talking about - the one's who think the Indicator Arm is there so they can hang their over-stuffed handbag, the Interior Mirror is there to help them apply their make-up and adjust their hair (especially when actually driving along the road!) or see if their mascara hasn't run. I, plus a hell of a lot of my friends have also noticed that there seem to be a lot of female drivers who can't remember what gear they are in, so they take their eye's off of the road and look down at the gear shift to see which gear they Are in! Also have you ever watched a woman driver attempting to park a Big car in a little place? They usually give up in the end and leave the damn thing 'Half Parked', the husband usually jumps in the drivers seat, Marlboro cig stickin' from bottom lip and parks it as it should be, Easy man! OK, there are some really great women drivers out there, I freely admit that, but Hell man, ain't it about time all these moaners got a life? Ain't it about time they stood up and fought for something real important? Take on all these damn companies that are destroying all of our landscapes, tearing down all our forests, pumping Dirty oil waste into Wildlife reserves for instance. Come on Ladies, forget the stupid little things, get working on the big things. Either that or move to damn Russia, see how much Freedom you get there = NONE!

10:35AM PST on Dec 8, 2012

In reply to Sarah M. California! That place where you were stupid enough as to rebuild a city TWICE in the same place where it was totally destroyed by an Earthquake! Come on, wake up fer Christ's sake. OK, you do not like smoking or smokers, then I suggest you move to Russia, or China, be under a regime where you cannot do anything! Yes, that is what YOU are proposing, a Country where No one can have a choice! Where you OBEY orders, no matter what YOU think or want to do! REMEMBER, you live in a Free Country. A country where you have Free speech. Have a look back to the True News Films of the War, the 2nd World War. See just how many troops smoked, to protect their sanity, whilst protecting your parents by the way, so that you could be born Free! Yet now you are having a go at smokers, they have the same Rights as you! Freedom of Choice! As to how many deaths are caused by smoking, well that is a debatable point, for instance More people die from other things that have NOTHING to do with smoking. It is just that it is EASIER to pick on smokers, so that people such as you do not see or hear about the more important things that Kill people. Instead of picking on people who smoke, try finding out what kills more peole = Use your brain, find out!

3:44AM PST on Nov 5, 2012

Wake up!
Smoker or not, never let your government take away your right to do what you want with your body, whether at home, outside, or in YOUR personal vehicle.
I am not a smoker, but I would never try to take that away from someone else if that is what they choose to do with their lives.

We don't need government involved in every tiny aspect of our lives. Be an individual, decide for yourself if you want to smoke in your car or not, don't let the government make that decision for you.

8:38AM PDT on Aug 29, 2012

Since they've stopped putting ashtrays in cars, smokers are tossing more butts than ever out the windows (a pollutant and a fire hazard). No passenger, especially children, should be subjected to riding in a car with cigarette, pipe or cigar smoke. I am weary of stopping at a traffic light and having smoke from the cars in front and beside me waft into mine.

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