It seems Nebraska hopes to keep the ball rolling on smoking restrictions with LB93, which would make it illegal to smoke in a car where there is an occupant under the age of 16. This bill was introduced by Senator Gwen Howard.
While I understand the concerns of secondhand smoke exposure, the progression of laws that Nebraska is heading for doesn’t make much sense as far as actual risk is concerned. First, we got the smoking ban in public places, which in most cases doesn’t amount to much exposure. Now, we’re looking at smoking in cars, which is probably more exposure than public places, but still, the amount of time spent in a car with someone who smokes is going to be minimal. In reality, living with someone who smokes inside the home is probably the greatest health risk.
Is it wrong for people to expose their children to the risk of secondhand smoke? Probably. But is it the government’s job to regulate it? Will they start coming into our homes to make sure that we’re not exposing our kids to anything they consider harmful? Today it’s cigarette smoke, but tomorrow will it be diet, or who knows what else? Where do we draw the line and let people make their own mistakes?
Also, this bill is similar to the seatbelt law mentioned in an earlier post. An officer could pull someone over for smoking in a car if they believe a passenger under 16 may be inside. This power could definitely be abused.