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Banning Smoking in Cars with Children

According to the data of World Health Organization, more than 3 million people in the world die every year because of aftereffect of smoking. Nowadays, the USA and Europe look for ways of reducing the extent of the problem and its consequences. Therefore, a number of laws banning smoking in public places have been adopted in these countries. People smoking in restaurants, offices or even private companies can be penalized considerably. It is obvious that more and more people, especially women, suffer from nicotine addiction, exposing others to the negative effects of passive smoking. As the American scientists repute, such a situation could be the cause of the epidemic of asthma among children. Over the past thirty years, percentage of children with asthma has increased by three times. According to the data of an American research on that matter, more than fifteen million children have been exposed to second hand smoking at home, and nearly five million children under the age of eighteen, suffer from asthma. The study shows that there is the correlation between the incidence of asthma and the level of consumption of tobacco products.

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Another screaming situation of child smoke abuse is the use of cigarettes by adults in the cars, in the presence of kids. Many parents having free-smoke policies at home, meanwhile expose their offspring to tobacco smoke in their cars. “Workplaces, restaurants, homes and even bars are mostly smoke-free, but cars have been forgotten,” emphasized the research associate in Pediatrics at HarvardMedicalSchool ("Children Often Exposed to Tobacco Smoke in Cars", n.p.). The problem has to be studied thoroughly, since it causes irretrievable health problems in children as well as the cases of parents’ smoking at home. The difference in these two cases of abuse is that smoking in the car can be controlled by executive bodies while being in the public eye. As follows, the legislation of many countries, considers ban of smoking in cars with kids as one of the steps for preventing negative health outcomes for children. Despite many opponents of this act, it has to be adopted for the sake of children.

In order to understand the urgent threat of smoking in the cars, parents should remember that cigarette smoke includes many chemical substances devastating the health. Children are exposed to these chemicals in a higher rate, since they are in the process of physical development still. While inhaling the secondhand smoke, kids get chronic irritation of the upper respiratory tract, which, in its turn, considerably reduces lung function. The usual side effects of the dysfunction are coughing, wheezing, phlegm or breathlessness. Chronic bronchitis, asthma, pneumonia or cancers are the other serious effects caused by this abuse.

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The researchers of MassachusettsHospital for Children interviewed 795 parents, who smoke, about their smoking policy. The investigation shows that about 48 percent of adults expose children to the secondhand tobacco smoke regularly. Most of the parents follow smoke-free policy in their homes. However, only 24 percent of them adopt the necessity of such a policy for their cars. Taking into consideration the scope of investigation and possible injuries of secondhand smoking for children, society must admit the necessity of passing the law on the ban smoking in cars with children. However, this law has many opponents. Thus, the critics emphasize that tobacco-free driving law is colliding with the concept of freedom. They mention the loss of freedom through governmental intrusion into private lives:

If the Government tries to dictate where to smoke, it will probably dictate some day what to eat, how to sleep or where to rest. The good parenting cannot be legislated. Society has to find the other ways of regulating this problem. Antagonists of the tobacco-free driving law compare harm from smoking in a car with the detriment from allowing children to spend all day long in front of a TV or computer. They mention, “Rampant desire of government and public bodies to rule every aspect of people’s lives in the name of good living is one of the tyrannies of our age” (Cunningham, and Robson, n.p.). Such opinion has right to exist and has many supporters. However, taking the decision regarding the ban on smoking in cars with children, people have to weigh all pros and contras. If the opponents of the campaign declare this law as the violation of human rights, then why not identify the non-acceptance of a ban as a breakage of children rights to a clear and healthy environment. Invulnerable argument for adherents of the law banning smoking is the fact that the harmful substances are absorbed into the upholstery and other soft surfaces inside the vehicle, in such a way increasing exposure of children to the devastating effects of toxins from tobacco smoke. Studies show that the level of toxins caused by smoking in a car is 23 times higher than in smoke-filled bars. Disregard of the facts of smoking in the car can be compared with ignoring the cases of a child being beaten in the street. Does society have the right to be indifferent to the murder of children? This question must be answered by every representative of the Legislative Branch before voting for the law.

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Banning or not banning smoking in cars in the presence of children is the issue on the agenda in the governments of many countries nowadays. Differing points of view on prohibition on smoking in cars with children divide society into two opposing parts. Opponents to the campaign, reason that passing the abovementioned law demonstrates a growing intrusion of the government into private lives of individuals. They insist that good parenting cannot be legislated. However, the supporters of the tobacco-free driving law put forward strong arguments based on medical researches. Secondhand smoking causes dangerous health problems in children, such as asthma, pneumonia, chronic bronchitis and others. This is a form of child abuse, since the kids cannot advocate for themselves in the face of parental nicotine addiction. Therefore, no form of child abuse has the right for existing.

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