Free-Range Kids

Virginia Cops Fine Driver $100 for Smoking in Car With a Child Present



Puhhha / Dreamstime

A person in Virginia was recently issued a ticket for smoking in the car with a child present.

Fox News reports that the Virginia Police Department fined the smoker $100. But it wasn't enough to simply extract a Benjamin from the puffer. The department went on Twitter to warn others: "Protect your children and keep $100 in your pocket!" Then it used the hashtags #NoSmoking and #WeAreWatching.

First of all, I think that people are still allowed to smoke, so "No Smoking" seems a bit much. But "WeAreWatching" is worse. Watching all the time? Everything a parent does that is sub-optimal—like giving the kid a bag of Fritos before dinner?

My mom smoked all the time in the car and I hated it. I made all the coughing sounds, and put notes in the ashtray, and rolled my window down with Oscar-worthy gasps. But do I wish she'd been hounded by the cops? No. Do I think she would have quit if she could? Yes.

Maybe the cops who are #watching should #watch for something else, like people driving recklessly.

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  1. Virginia is for Statists.

    1. Everyone out of the pool, this comment wins.

      1. No, this one does:

        The United States is for Statists.

    2. Have actually been thinking this for a long time and it makes sense-Virginians seem to consistently vote for statist types, regardless of party.

      That said, I did not know this law existed I Virginia- I know Maryland has a law tat bans smoking in cars if there is a child younger than 6 or 8. I occasionally vape while I’m driving my kids somewhere, but discretely blow the vapor down so they don’t notice in case they are looking (which they hardly ever are). Guess I should beware now though -I doubt the cops will care-they’ll just seem me putting something in my mouth and blowing something out, and that’s good for $100.

  2. They have a similar law here in Maine.

    As a child of smokers I agree that it is gross. As an adult who occasionally shares a vehicle with a smoker I still think it’s gross. My first step to stop smoking was to stop smoking in the car. So my car didn’t smell gross. I’m currently an non smoker.

    The idea that government agents can use this as a pretense for violence is gross.

    1. The idea that government agents can use this as a pretense for violence is gross.

      Yep-wouldn’t be surprised if there is a police shooting of an unarmed African-American driver in front of his/her kids or grandkids as a result of these laws.

  3. Must resist the sudden inexplicable urge to start smoking.

  4. a Benjamin from the puffer

    Nice (Cat Stevens) album name.

  5. This is great news – it means every single crime has been solved in VA!! They now have the time to put into making sure the peasants are properly overseen and punished for whatever sins the state wishes.

  6. I had brunch with my mother yesterday, and she lit up the moment we got back in the car as usual. I used to hate it before I smoked, but now that I’ve (mostly) quit, it’s actually a quite pleasant little moment. I love some good second-hand smoke. I only wish I had a well-ventilated and comfortable lounge in my house, because I hate taking guests to the garage or yard, and I’m not so old-fashioned that I’m willing to permeate my every fabric with the stuff.

  7. “Maybe the cops who are #watching should #watch for something else, like people driving recklessly.” Maybe Reason needs articles about the abuses of businesses under the guise of capitalism

  8. “My mom smoked all the time in the car and I hated it. I made all the coughing sounds, and put notes in the ashtray, and rolled my window down with Oscar-worthy gasps. But do I wish she’d been hounded by the cops? No. Do I think she would have quit if she could? Yes.”

    Shorter. Your mom’s an asshole and you were powerless to do anything about it.

  9. This story illustrates there are way too many cops…

  10. No one has ever died in a car wreck because they were smoking a cigarette, a cigar, or a pipe. But untold thousands have died due to drunken driving, reckless driving and driving faster than the driver is capable of.

    Other than the distasteful smoke bothering some people, there is no way it’s a danger and for the police to “watch” of smoking drivers as if they are the cause of accidents is absurd. And the police can be very absurd as we all know.

    If one doesn’t like smoking, then one should not smoke. But that’s too easy for the smoke NAZIs.

    Unless and until there is a law against selling, buying, or using tobacco there cannot be a crime. And therefore there cannot be a reason for police involvement.

    A major problem in today’s society is arrogant, hubristic intolerance for another’s acts even when said acts effect no one else but the singular person. Why the intolerance of harmless things others do. I know it’s aggravating to control freaks when they can’t manage to make everyone conform to their ideas. The notion is pathological.

    It follows that it smoking is such a great danger, then why is it not against the law? And can be added to other stupid and mindless laws the SJWs are seeking to implement.

    Laws protecting the greater good can be acceptable, but laws for the individual due to an opinion are not acceptable.

  11. Relevant here is my response to a public consultation regarding this very subject in Scotland in Aug.2013, that looks at some of the many wild claims regarding smoking and health – particularly relating to children;
    Search (not google); ‘kin-free blogspot’ & navigate to; ‘Exploiting Children, and the basic human instinct to protect them, to serve a Prohibition Agenda (Public consultation- smoking in motor vehicles)’

    Since then, other information has come to light that suggests, for instance, that forcing smokers in general to quit, moves them into a much higher risk bracket for developing lung cancer. eg. a FIVE fold increase here; Lung cancer ratios, California (Chung et al 2010); Active smokers 11.3%: Never smokers 23%: Quitters 65.7%, a mean 18 years after quitting.
    Or longevity studies showing, contrary to anti-smoker rhetoric, that smokers are MORE likely to live longer than non smokers; eg. Chicago Neurologist Emily Rogalski (feb 2018). found that, of the 5% of the population who live to become ‘super-agers’ and who retain sharp brains to enjoy that longevity, 71% were Smokers and 83 % regularly drank alcohol.

    1. Yeah, a lot of the health stuff has been wildly blown out of proportion. For instance even in the official big studies in the USA they found that smoking under half a pack a day has basically zero effect on outcomes. It’s really only once you get to a pack a day on up that your rates for things supposedly go up. But the stuff you post seems to even contradict that, which frankly I wouldn’t be surprised if that was accurate. I know my lungs just weren’t cut out for smoking a pack plus a day, so I switched to vaping, and still smoke a bit when drinking etc. That has been an improvement. I may try to quit vaping at some point too, but I just really don’t care that much either way.

  12. My dad always smoked in the car, and my mom too before she quit. They both always rolled the windows way down, and I have always done that at all times in all cars as a matter of habit. When I smoked that was how I did it too. It’s not too bad with windows down, but if anybody is so retarded they chain smoke away with that windows up that is retarded… Almost as retarded as it being illegal to smoke with a minor in the car.

  13. Fuck anti-smoking laws!
    Fuck anti-drug laws!
    Fuck DWI laws!
    Fuck no seat belt laws!
    Fuck no eating a burrito while driving laws!

    There, I feel better now. Glad I got that out!

  14. I guess in this regard I’m a “statist.”

    Am I the only person that read “with children present?”

    I smoke, probably about 3/4 pack a day and I am 100% fine with laws against smoking with kids in the car. My kid will never breathe one iota of SH smoke from me. If she wants to smoke when she’s grown that’s her choice, but me forcing the effects on her in a confined space and turning a blind eye because “I just want to be able to smoke/it’s so hard to quit” etc. is BS in my opinion.

    I would think that at least some people here would get why. Your kids did not choose to smoke. You are conflating your freedom/your choice with their freedom when you expose them to it in a car.. Non-aggression principle, anyone?

    While we’re at it I also HATE when smokers throw lit butts in mulch.

    I’m a smoker that pretty much hates 90% of what smokers do I guess.

    1. But where does it stop? That line of reasoning can be used to justify completely insane things. Like if you leave your kids in the car, where you can see them, for 5 minutes to buy a coke inside a convenience store… CPS to the rescue! Small bad behaviors being made illegal are a slippery slope.

      As a smoker I agree that many smokers are dicks… But should those things be illegal? 99% of it probably not.

  15. I was expecting you to say that the police called CPS so that the kids could be put in foster care. That is the next step from these Orwellians.

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