The freedom to smoke wherever you wish will always be debated. Smoking in public places has been banned for many years now, yet people still smoke inside their homes, with total disregard for those they share that living space with.
So we ask ourselves – is it constitutional to ban smoking in a car if a child is present? This will open the floodgates regarding the individual’s rights. Many smokers feel that their car is their private space, as is their home, and they should be at liberty to do as they please in it.
A source from Downing Street has confirmed that the current Government is set to proceed with implementing the ban on smoking in cars with children. This proposal has been backed by the Prime Minister, however, the Deputy Prime Minister and others feel that the ban would not be able to be policed effectively.
The health hazards related to cigarette smoke have been very well documented over the years. It is these very health hazards that prompted banning of smoking in public places. It is stated that cigarette smoke can remain in the air inside a car for a period of up to two and a half hours, even if a window is open. Studies have indicated that smoking in a car produces much higher toxin concentration than inside a bar. It has been measured at eleven times higher. This makes it imperative that this ban be given priority as the effect on a small child must surely be negative.
Seeing a teenager puffing on a cigarette is horrifying, but imagining a much younger child doing the same is even more horrifying. This is exactly what adults are doing to their children when they smoke in a car.
Although an individual has the freedom to smoke in their home or car if they wish, should the child not have the same liberty to breathe in fresh, clean air? It has been stated by the Guardian that this matter is a child protection issue, not one of civil liberties, and this is what is most important.
Image credit: Tiffany Terry