MENU

Reason.com

Free Minds & Free Markets

Girl Scouts Write Anti-Smoking Legislation in Colorado

A government for the children, of the children, by the children.

Ken Wolter/Dreamstime.comKen Wolter/Dreamstime.comPoliticians' childish antics have created an unexpected opening for actual children to participate in politics.

This includes everything from the inauguration of Oregon's first kid-governor in January—swept into office on an anti-bullying platform—to a 9-year-old providing crucial (albeit inaccurate) facts in our national conversation about regulating straws.

In the Denver suburbs, some precocious youngsters have achieved the ultimate form of political expression by getting a nitpicky smoking restriction passed into law.

In Aurora, Colorado, Girl Scout Troop 60789 drafted an ordinance banning people from smoking or vaping in their cars if a minor is present. The city council approved the measure by a vote of 6–5.

"I'm not a sentimental guy, but it gave me a real renewed faith in the youth of our country," Councilmember Charles Richardson, who worked with the troop to write the legislation and then voted to approve it, told The Washington Post.

That Post write-up was itself laudatory, noting how the girls did their own research into second-hand smoke while learning about politics along the away. Local media outlets were no less congratulatory, with the Denver ABC affiliate calling the scouts' activism a "noble effort."

While a light touch is perhaps to be expected when the press covers schoolchildren's extracurricular efforts, it's less appropriate when those efforts are going projects with actual legal consequences.

Violating the scout-sponsored law exposes people to penalties laid out in Sec. 1-13 of the Aurora City Code, which includes fines as high as $2,650 and a year in jail, though the municipal court is also expected to offer an option to do community service instead.

Troop 60789 had initially suggested fines of $150 for the first violation, plus an added $50 for any subsequent violation.

Justifying these penalties required some rather shoddy reasoning from the scouts. In a September presentation to the city council, they claimed, among other things, that second-hand smoke could cause Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. This seems irrelevant when it comes to the older children and teens also covered by the ordinance.

The girls also claimed that smoking even half a cigarette in a car can make the air quality inside the vehicle more than 10 times higher than the level the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) deems hazardous. They sourced this fact from a website run by the California Tobacco Control Program, although the figure comes with no citation there. There is a noticeable lack of any such figure on the EPA's own webpage on smoking in cars, and given that the EPA has said that any level of exposure to the toxicants in tobacco smokie is hazardous, it's not clear even what this statistic is supposed to measure.

It may be unfair to ask 13- and 14-year-old kids in-depth questions about the primary sources for such claims. But in that case, we perhaps should rely less on children to draft our laws.

Photo Credit: Ken Wolter/Dreamstime.com

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Girl Scouts Write Anti-Smoking Legislation in Colorado
    A government for the children, of the children, by the children.

    Didn't we just recently get some comments that they're more than old enough to vote? I say, more than old enough to write legislation.

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    The current argument is that 16 and 17 year olds should be allowed to vote. You're employing the slippery slope logical fallacy if you think this will lead to people under 16 voting.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Hey, it's not MY slippery slope. I was happy when only wealthy, white landowners could vote. Then they started adding "all men" and at that point I said, "Next thing you'll suggest, is 16 year old kids are going to be able to vote... I hold the line here!"

    No one listened. And now look where we are. The Girl Scouts of America are writing our Nation's laws.

    I'm not gonna say I told you so...

  • cravinbob||

    How in the hell old are you to say you were happy when only wealthy, white landowners could vote? And that type of reasoning is 4th grade.
    Also these Girl Scouts researched nothing as it states they have. Not only that we do not need more nannyism especially from teenage girls who should find something to do with their time and not mine.

  • CE||

    I think only people over 90 have enough life experience to be allowed to vote.
    But they should only be allowed to vote if they are net tax-payers, so they don't load themselves up with benefits at everyone else's expense.

  • LarryA||

    "We should pay more attention to what they propose because they're Girl Scouts."
    [/sarc]

  • Rat on a train||

    Just lower the age of majority to 13. Go ahead teens, vote, drink, smoke, buy guns, get drafted, whatever.

  • Sevo||

    "get drafted,"
    I read that as "get drilled" and immediately knew that the protectors of white, nubile, innocent 'female children' would never go for that.

  • Rat on a train||

    The Girl Scouts dropped the prostitution badge a long time ago.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    Isn't this a level of politicking that would revoke their non-profit status?

  • ||

    No, this is just having kids stand up for what's right. Like having all the school children do a mass walkout in the name of expanding gun control.

  • This Machine Chips Fascists||

    Like it's sooo hard to get kids to walk out of class. Here is the mass media allowing brazen manipulation of the news cycle and the professional journalists wonder why people shouting fake news is a thing.

  • LarryA||

    OTOH if the Boy Scouts proposed a law promoting Marksmanship Merit Badge, IRS would bust them straightaway.

  • Fuck you, Shikha (Nunya)||

    So victimizing people that switched to vaping is what's right now. As the article suggests, fuck science and details. The feelz are more important.

  • CE||

    What I want to know is how Big Cookie ever allowed them to sell cookies on the street in the first place.
    I hope they fired their lobbyists.

  • ||

    What are you talking about? They are Big Cookie!

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    This includes everything from the inauguration of Oregon's first kid-governor in January—swept into office on an anti-bullying platform—to a 9-year-old providing crucial (albeit inaccurate) facts in our national conversation about regulating straws.

    Children are the future, we should... let them run everything now and skip the 'experience' thing.

  • Longtobefree||

    Alternatively, we could stop them before they breed.

  • JFree||

    We're already making them pay the bills. They damn well should decide what stupid things it should be spent on.

  • This Machine Chips Fascists||

    A fair point. At least kids understand what the future might be like, versus old farts who wish they could have frozen everything at the peak of their own personal power. Of course, the sociopaths and their flocks are already rising to the top by the age of 16 so...yeah.

  • Fuck you, Shikha (Nunya)||

    That's a point. Maybe they're the only one that can reign in social security.

  • cravinbob||

    Pay what bills?? They live rent free, mostly, and free education, mostly, and free streets, mostly, and free speech...too soon.
    Government decides what is spent where and nobody else. These youth will become disillusioned alcoholics in no time flat thanks to agenda-driven "adults".

  • CE||

    Can't we turn to the Girl Scouts for some common-sense drinking straw regulation?

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    While a light touch is perhaps to be expected when the press covers schoolchildren's extracurricular efforts, it's less appropriate when those efforts are going projects with actual legal consequences.

    If it results in one misunderstanding during a traffic stop, it was worth it.

  • SQRLSY One||

    "Violating the scout-sponsored law exposes people to penalties laid out in Sec. 1-13 of the Aurora City Code, which includes fines as high as $2,650 and a year in jail, though the municipal court is also expected to offer an option to do community service instead.

    Troop 60789 had initially suggested fines of $150 for the first violation, plus an added $50 for any subsequent violation."

    Girl Sprouts are FAR-FAR less draconian than our REAL dictators!!!!

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    And they're Girrrls, which makes them innately more compassionate or something in their legislation. Or so I've been told... while at the exact same time being told there are no differences between men and women.

    IT'S TIME WE LET WOMEN RUN THINGS, BECAUSE THEY'RE EXACTLY THE SAME!

  • ||

    IT'S TIME WE LET WOMEN RUN THINGS, BECAUSE THEY'RE EXACTLY THE SAME!

    Right up until you hand them a jumpsuit labeled "Men - S" then boobs and hips become a crucial part of how you turn the ratchet.

  • Ska||

    This sounds very promising.

  • DiegoF||

    Excessively restrictive, androcentrically designed coveralls are no joke. Workplace equality can be promoted with simple ergonomic adjustments, such as the addition of lycra throughout the pelvic and thigh region, and a neckline that opens generously in order to avoid uncomfortable constriction of the bust.

  • DiegoF||

    You mispelled "Grrls." You are a sexist shitlord, and not even that punk.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    that second-hand smoke could cause Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

    Wow, and the grownups bought this?

  • Longtobefree||

    Not grown-ups, Oregon politicians.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Colorado. The Oregon ones could have been tricked into much worse.

  • Morbo||

    *Denver politicians. The smoking ban was passed in Denver.

  • Morbo||

    Fuck me, I meant Aurora, not Denver.

    Either way, not Oregon. Our politicians are bad enough that we don't need to ascribe things they didn't do to them.

  • BYODB||

    It's ok, I know folks in Aurora and they assure me it's the Oregon of Colorado.

  • Longtobefree||

    No blatantly sexist organization should write anything.
    But then - Oregon.

  • Anastasia Beaverhausen||

    Try again - Colorado.

  • Longtobefree||

    Right.
    Oregon was the kid governor thing.
    Them blue states all look alike after awhile.
    Am I allowed to drink coffee in the afternoon any more?

  • ||

    "Does it have 1 tspn per litre of caffeine as regulated in the bylaw...."

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Someone just wanted her Prohibitionist Badge.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    They already have the Nagging Badge.

  • H. Farnham||

    I quit chewing about a year and a half ago (to get cheaper insurance). Reading articles like this almost makes me want to start using tobacco again, just to spite everyone who thinks they know what's best for everyone else. I know that doesn't really make sense, but the anti-tobacco crusading sure does get tiresome.

  • CE||

    You should try living in California where they have constant TV ads about how smoking is bad and vaping is worse. Like they don't have more important and effective things to spend our tax money on, like prison guard pensions and high speed trains to Merced.

  • ||

    Hey, man - people are going to be able to get from Modesto to Merced like 0.15 times faster.

  • This Machine Chips Fascists||

    Check out Bill Hicks' bit on exsmokers if you haven't seen it.

  • H. Farnham||

    That was pretty good stuff.

  • BYODB||

    Start vaping nicotine free liquid and watch people's minds implode when they try and lecture you about chemicals they have literally no clue about.

    I've popped a few people's bubbles when I can actually tell them not only what I'm smoking, but that it's literally as harmless as city air.

  • H. Farnham||

    Yeah but did having their bubbles popped deter them from lecturing you about the perceived evils of something that brought you a little bit of joy? In my experience, logical reasoning doesn't seem to have much effect.

  • Robert||

    I've explained it to people as being like sniffing perfume.

  • Robert||

    How much cheaper could life or health insurance be for not chewing? Seems the difference in risk would be hardly worth an insurer's concern. But then, large numbers & all, + a Q they can easily ask.

  • H. Farnham||

    About ten bucks a month on a twenty year term policy and an extra hundred bucks a year in my HRA. Which is funny that those figures are what finally motivated me to quit, considering I was spending about ten times that much on Copenhagen for the last ten or fifteen years.

  • cgr2727||

    I sincerely hope cookie sales plummet. Teach them a nice lesson about boycotts and how actions have consequences, seeing as how they want to be involved in grown up politics. It's Denver though, and thin mints really help with the munchies.

  • This Machine Chips Fascists||

    You can buy those in the dollar store for, like, a dollar.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    It might be possible to get their Thin Mints classified as a Schedule I narcotic.

  • Libertarian||

    You know what other organization formed troops, had a creed and loyalty oaths, and dressed in uniforms?

  • ||

    Every single one of them?

  • gormadoc||

    Civil War reenactors?

  • CE||

    The Roman Empire?

  • This Machine Chips Fascists||

    VFW?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    The Rockettes. If you add an e.

  • Rat on a train||

    SAG-AFTRA?

  • Pro Libertate||

    We need a libertarian uniform. Yes, yes, I know, but what would one look like?

  • Longtobefree||

    What ever you choose to wear that day - - - - - - -

    Duh.

  • This Machine Chips Fascists||

    Look for the orphan label.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Tuxedo, if it's after 6.

  • David Nolan Michael Hihn||

    Night's Watch?

    #ImWithHihn

  • Robert||

    Oliver's Army?

  • Red Tony||

    Don't start me talking.

  • DajjaI||

    It's anudda lord of da flies.

  • Eidde||

    Next up - the Girl Scouts write laws imposing special taxes on unhealthy snack and dessert foods.

    What?

  • Marc St. Stephen||

    You mean, like, the cookies they hawk

  • Fuck you, Shikha (Nunya)||

    Explaining the joke always makes it more funny.

  • mpercy||

    Just give them some Tide Pods and let nature take its course.

  • Robert||

    Girl Scouts selling them door to door—if they're laundromat doors?

  • mpercy||

    I urge the politicians in Aurora, CO to pass a ban on sales of any/all cookies. Because obesity, diabetes, etc.

    That'll show 'em.

  • This Machine Chips Fascists||

    Fight fire with fire. It's a CO thing.

  • DiegoF||

    Good luck with that anywhere in Colorado. Big Weed will stop that shit in its tracks.

  • Mezzanine||

    The Girl Scouts are basically drug dealers and should obviously be given the death penalty.

  • zombietimeshare||

    I mean really. Can't the Girl Scouts go back to poisoning people with their sugar cookies and leave the everyone else alone?

  • IceTrey||

    Can't wait for the cops to kill someone over this.

  • DiegoF||

    Hopefully it will be some Girl Scouts. Bitches be asking for it this time, I say!

  • DiegoF||

    I think that Kid Governor shit is actually the most insidious, and most revealing, thing of all. The kid is supposedly learning about civics, but what he is really "learning" from this supposedly "nonpartisan" "educational" experience is that the solutions to the social needs he cares about lie at the point of a government executive's pen. It's really just the message all kids get from their education, highlighted for our convenience.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Anyone ever read Logan's Run?

  • Longtobefree||

    No. But I slept next to a book at a Holiday Inn.

  • This Machine Chips Fascists||

    Gideons' Run

  • BYODB||


    In Aurora, Colorado, Girl Scout Troop 60789 drafted an ordinance banning people from smoking or vaping in their cars if a minor is present. The city council approved the measure by a vote of 6–5.


    Well I hate to break this to them, but the byproduct of a vaporizer is mostly if not entirely water so...surprise! Everyone has already broken this ordinance. In fact, no one can comply with it even if they want to do so. Well done, everyone is now a criminal.


    /begins a slow clap

  • Alcibiades||

    Ok, enough is enough, from now on only veterans can vote.

  • Longtobefree||

    Veterans or concealed carry holders?

  • Alcibiades||

    Ok, just vets, CCWs and LP members.
    That should about take care of things.

  • This Machine Chips Fascists||

    In states with constitutional carry everyone could vote. In gun control states many would be disenfranchised.

  • Red Tony||

    Bug not feature muthafucka.

  • Red Tony||

    ...I screwed that up.

  • DiegoF||

    Would you like to know more?

  • Emotional Opposition Animal||

    Life was so much simpler in Starship Troopers. Denise Richards hadn't yet mutilated her rack for Charlie Sheen's benefit.

  • Sevo||

    ""I'm not a sentimental guy, but it gave me a real renewed faith in the youth of our country," Councilmember Charles Richardson, who worked with the troop to write the legislation and then voted to approve it, told The Washington Post."
    You're a scumbag using kids as props to advance your partisan issues.

  • NoVaNick||

    Why is the WaPo covering what should be a local Colorado story?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Kids are the new minions of the left. The media is onboard.

  • chemjeff||

    Really shouldn't blame the kids for this. They come up with all sorts of crazy ideas. Blame the adults who adopt childish ideas.

  • Marc St. Stephen||

    Yeah, we should, in part, blame the kids. They could have insisted on something useful, like jail time for assholes making a left turn onto a four lane road not at a light and NOT using a turn signal, so people behind them know to make a right somewhere else and not get stuck behind the asshole for 10 minutes while they try vainly to make a fucking left.

    Or something like that

  • NoVaNick||

    Don't know about Colorado, but you would have to lock up all Massachusetts drivers if your idea ever became law.

  • JeremyR||

    Eh, it's not that they are children, but that they are women (girls, anyway). Women support outlawing drugs and other things much more than men.

    That's why we had prohibition in the first place

  • Robert||

    Very much so. We'd be much freer if only men & boys could vote. Probably even better than not allowing blacks to vote.

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    Is that really true? I'm not convinced women are as hostile to freedom as you're claiming. For example, I know cisgender women vote for Democrats largely to preserve their ability to access abortion care. This suggests women have strong libertarian instincts.

  • retiredfire||

    Killing the unborn isn't a violation of the NAP?

  • DajjaI||

    We'll be wishing for the kids back after the dems sweep the midterms.

  • NoVaNick||

    I was getting worried since I hadn't heard much from the anti-smokers for a while- I thought they had been overrun by the anti-carbon and anti-gun proggies.

    I am really perplexed by the lack of outrage over Girl Scout cookies:

    1. They contribute to obesity.
    2. They are discriminatory since diabetics obviously can't eat them.
    3. They perpetuate toxic gender stereotypes of girls/women baking cookies.
    4. Girl Scouts itself perpetuates gender stereotypes-heck, even the Boy Scouts now let girls join.

    How the fuck does this town plan to bust vapers by the way-unless your blowing it out the window, there is no way a cop can tell you were just vaping in the car.

  • Sevo||

    "How the fuck does this town plan to bust vapers by the way-unless your blowing it out the window, there is no way a cop can tell you were just vaping in the car."
    Tobacco=bad. Wymyns=good.

  • NoVaNick||

    No doubt, the girls in this GS troop saw this as an opportunity to pad their college transcripts.

  • Sevo||

    OT:
    Reading "Alexander Hamilton" (Chernow).
    I've read of Hamilton peripherally, as part of another subject. This is the first book specific to him; only 60 or so pages in so I have no comment on "the book"
    But at Pg 60, the book is dealing with the conflict between the "Sons of Liberty" with Hamilton as a leading voice vs the Torys in NY lead by Seabury and Coopers.
    The Torys are Tony, et all; dedicated to preserving the status-quo (with far less lying that we get from our lefty assholes). They are Proggies! The King is GREAT! The taxes are good!....
    The "Sons of Liberty", by comparison are what proggies now consider "conservative"; those who wish to conserve freedom as opposed to the proggies who wish to conserve the power of the state.
    So when someone claims history is moving toward proggies, it's worth reminding them that when it doesn't, wonderful things happen.
    And it should happen more often

  • patskelley||

    10 year olds writing law based upon Internet research - hooo hahahahaha! Save their names and interview them after they have lived 50 years under legalized cloying.

  • STSA||

    "In Germany today, our youth leads the way."
    Adolph Hitler.

    Sounds familiar? It should. Hitler was a progressive, the Girl Scouts of America are progressives, the anti-gun movement is progressive. These people are the enemy! Treat them accordingly.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online