Would It Not Be Best To Ban Children From Cars?

Smoking In Cars While Children Present Gets Me “Fuming”

While obviously the title of the post was done in jest – the subject of smoking in cars when there are children present really gets to me. It is beyond my comprehension how parents can happily sit in the front of their vehicles ‘puffing’ away while their innocent child is poisoned in the back seat. You ask any parent if they would knowingly feed their children poison and I can guarantee that they would look at you with disgust for asking such a vile question but yet some of these same people will happily smoke in front of their children essentially equating to the same thing.

Are We Edging Towards A Nanny State?

It really is a sad state of affairs when we so called intelligent beings have to put laws in place in order to protect ourselves from one another. In a utopian world there would be no need for such laws and restrictions as intelligence and common sense would prevail. This law, although I fully back, means we have taken another step closer to parenthood being controlled by the state. We are getting to a place where Individuals responsibility is no longer trusted, encouraged or allowed. Do I see myself as an authoritarian, no most definitely not as I think legislating people’s lives is a bad thing and I am against the nanny state mentality, but when we live in such a world steps need to be taken to protect those that cannot protect themselves i.e. our children.

An argument which I often encounter is that before we contemplate legislation the first question that needs to be asked is “can it be enforceable?”.  In fact one person pointed out that the amount of mobile phones that they have seen people on whilst driving, basically renders the law useless as it is not 100% enforceable. Essentially you only get punished if you are caught. It is this type of thinking that is indeed dangerous and irresponsible. It is fully understood that yes this law has its limitations, but adopting their logic moving forward would mean that we should allow people to use mobiles behind the wheel, hell why make burglary illegal if the burglar only gets punished if they get caught?  In my own opinion I think these laws do work, one because it gives smokers an extra legal imperative to obey their conscience while others that take no regard for the new restriction will succumb to social stigma and the pressure of disapproval. At the end of the day if only one child’s life is saved from this then the justification for such a move has been verified.

Double Standards Laws?

Then you also have the support argument that while everyone agrees that smoking is a health hazard so is that of obesity and binge drinking but where are the restrictive laws on these? Smokers feel that the perpetual attack on them is unjust and especially unfair since there is so much hypocrisy in the laws created to protect public health. However it can be argued that although obesity and alcoholism is a drain on the NHS, it is not endangering other people, well from a health point of view anyway. You will always get that idiot who will drink far too much and then continue to start a fight with anything that looks at him the “wrong way” including the garden gnome, but this is another argument altogether as it does not encompass everyone who drinks. On the other hand everyone that smokes directly affects those around them via second hand smoke , full stop!

Something which I read that I did find quite funny was the fact that the new law which is to be enforced in October of this year covers “children” to the age of 18 years of age. This would potentially mean whilst the parent could not smoke, the “child” sitting in the back who is of the age of 18 would be able to happy smoke away.

Smoking Related To Brain Damage

I am sure everyone reading this is fully aware of the various amount of diseases smoking can cause however something which may be less known is the affect that smoking can have on the human brain.

New research from scientists in Edinburgh has shown that smokers have a thinner outer brain layer then that of non-smokers. They analysed how a certain person’s smoking habit was linked to the thickness of the brain cortex using detailed MRI brain scans, careful image analysis and statistical models. It was suggested that those who quit may partially recover some cortical thickness for every year smoke free however the process is very slow and incomplete.

Now obviously apart from the well known implications of smoking on a child’s health, this latest research is quite worrisome.

child brain scan

Brain Development In A Child

The brain’s basic architecture is constructed through an ongoing process that starts when we are born all the way through adulthood. The basic foundations are created first which then provide the infrastructure for more complex circuits and skills. Smoking can inhibit these foundations such as for emerging cognitive abilities and brain development which are essentially the bricks and mortar of the architecture.

Not only are you putting your child’s physical health at risk by smoking round them but you are also directly harming there mental health too. Think of a skyscraper, solid foundations have to put in place for it to continually grow and increase in size, without a strong foundation from which to build upon the skyscraper will inevitably collapse. It is the same for a child’s brain, well without the whole collapsing. Without the early solid foundations, the brain will not be able to build upon and create more complex neural networks therefore having a impact on the child ability to learn and develop.

Final Thoughts

Apart from the whole debate regarding the safety issues of having anything in hand whilst driving, the very fact smokers are intoxicating the enclosed environment in which their child has to sit in is in my opinion unacceptable and very very wrong. This post has nothing to do with judging those that smoke, far from it. I am a big believer that everyone has the right to live their lives as they wish, as long as they don’t harm others in the process. If you want to eat excessively then that’s your prerogative, but accept the consequences in terms of the medical costs. You want to binge drink? Great that is your right too but then do not go out looking for fights and being abusive to others. Finally if you wish to smoke then again knock yourself out but make sure you are respectful and considerate to others by only smoking outdoors or in designated smoking areas.

What Do You Think?

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