NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


November 28, 2006

Anti-tobacco forces are opening a new front in the war against smoking by banning it in private places such as homes and cars when children are present, says Emily Bazar in USA Today.

For example:

  • Starting Jan. 1, Texas will restrict smoking in foster parents' homes at all times and in cars when children are present.
  • Vermont, Washington and other states and counties already prohibit foster parents from smoking around children in their homes and cars.
  • In Arkansas, a law that bars smoking in a car carrying a child young enough to require a car seat took effect in July (a violator can be fined $25 but can get out of it with proof of participation in a smoking-cessation program); a similar law took effect in Louisiana in August.

At least six states and some counties prohibit foster parents from smoking when foster children are present, says Kathleen Dachille, director of the Legal Resource Center for Tobacco Regulation, Litigation & Advocacy at the University of Maryland School of Law.  "There are times when it's appropriate to regulate what people can do in their home," she says.  "The state is responsible for that child."

But others view it as an encroachment of the nanny state.  Smokers' rights groups liken banning smoking in private to the "Salem witch hunt," says Gary Nolan, spokesman for The Smoker's Club, Inc. 

Source: Emily Bazar "Law prohibits smoking around children," USA Today, November 28, 2006.

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