Here we are in what people call the worse economic crisis our State and Country has seen for the past 50 years, and our legislators are debating smoking in cars with kids and think a $100 fine will change the behavior.
Please understand that I am fully aware of the dangers of second hand smoke. I do not smoke and never have. I have memories of working at bowling alley in St. Paul in high school where some nights a fog of smoke hung over the 40 lanes. I know there is clinical evidence connecting second hand smoke to lung cancer.
Representative Nora Slawik DFL-Maplewood along with Senator Sandy Pappas DFL-St.Paul, are introducing the bill by which drivers would be fined $100 for smoking while driving with children. The "progressive" states of Maine, Louisiana, Arkansas, and California have already passed a similar bill. Pappas, as quoted in the St. Paul Pioneer Press knows exactly what she is up against. She stated that there are many cases in which the State sets rules for parents, including car seat and seat belt laws. "The State does act like a super-parent in some instances" Pappas said.
My concerns is where do we stop with this type of legislation? Will anyone really quit a nasty habit like smoking in a car with kids because of this law and its $100 fine? Ask 100 people if smoking in a car with kids is healthy or unhealthy and I would guess 95 of them would already say unhealthy…so what is being proven here? Isn’t there more pressing issues like jobs and economics to deal with without this surfacing. And truthfully, at what point do you stop "pushing the envelope" on smoking?
Possibly we can look for a future Minnesota law based on article dated Jan. 30th on KSL Salt Lake City’s website which talks about second hand in animals. Again, I must say I love dogs and have owned several in my lifetime, but at what point do we end trying to legislate this? A local Salt Lake City Vet stated about 25% of her patients have respiratory complications because their owners smoke. She says Cats and small breed dogs seem to be most susceptible.
I must share some of the 83 responses from the article:
"I can’t wait to see a story on seat belt laws for dogs in trucks. Click it or ticket …ruff,ruff"
"Well if cigarette smoke affects pets, people will stop smoking for sure."
"Animals should put aside their long lasting petty differences, form together, and sue their owners and the evil tobacco companies. Can anyone guess who would represent the lawyer, a snake, a vulture, or a weasel?"
"I won’t be able to play poker with my dogs, smoke cigars and drink brandy!"
Bottom line… Citizens of our State are looking for LEADERSHIP in St. Paul, not some feel good legislation that is trying to make a point. Put this topic in the "ashtray" and lets get going on something that will help us significantly in these difficult times. Maybe spending time talking to the Governor would be time better spent.