As Arkansas Goes, So Goes Maine


This week the Bangor City Council voted to prohibit smoking in vehicles occupied by anyone under 18. Smoking with minors in the car will be a primary offense, meaning police can pull drivers over if they witness it. A.P. explains why:

People who smoke with children present in the confined space of a car or truck might as well be deliberately trying to kill those children, said City Councilor Patricia Blanchette, who is a smoker.

"Let's step up to the plate and lead; our children are worth the fight," she said.

This may be the first time Maine has copied a public health policy pioneered by Arkansas. Bangor has a higher age cutoff (18 vs. 7) and a bigger fine ($50 vs. $25) than the Natural State. The broad definition of "children" gives police an excuse to pull over any car occupied by teenagers if one of them is smoking. But a $50 fine still seems like a pretty light punishment for attempted murder. And why is it OK to kill your kids at home (where most secondhand smoke exposure occurs) but not in the car? I guess Blanchette's position is that people can kill their children, as long as she doesn't have to see it.

[via The Rest of the Story]