Murder, Mayhem and Madness Monday: When is smoking around children criminal?

When is smoking around children criminal?

Sixty years ago there were only a few who would see it as criminal.  You could find parents smoking around their babies and even pregnant women smoked.

Smoking laws seem to limit smokers to fewer and fewer smoking areas.  People’s overall view of smokers in public places outside and inside seem  to be against the smoker.  However, I was walking across campus today and was surprised to hear people argue about their right to smoke near class buildings.

I’m fine with smokers smoking in areas that are away from buildings and pathways.  Though if it was up to me they would all be smoking in small boxes far away from everyone else.

Making smoking around children illegal is a personal issue.  My mother has asthma and had constant lung infections growing up due to my grandmother’s smoking.  When she was born she was much smaller than normal.   I worked in a preschool a long time ago and I saw a couple of infants that came in with clothes reeking of tobacco and they were all very sick.  I mean having surgery because of severe ear and lung infections.

Today, I saw a group of students smoking in front of the daycare/child development building at my local college.  This wasn’t the first time.  I took a few classes at another college that did the same thing.  We took pictures and tried to make them stop but they wouldn’t move even though pregnant women and babies had to walk past them to get into the daycare.

I feel this is criminal.  What do you think?  When is smoking criminal around children?  If a child passes you on the sidewalk?  If you smoke near a library entrance or school?  If you smoke in the car with a toddler?


7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Naomi Bulger
    Aug 29, 2011 @ 22:14:02

    Ugh. I’m all for live and let live. If you want to smoke, go ahead. But the “and let live” bit means not doing things that threaten other people’s lives. That is never ok. People talk about the right to smoke, and that’s fair enough. But how about the right of other people to NOT get lung cancer. If you are smoking in their path, and they can’t get around you any other way, you are destroying their rights.

    Like you Megan, I’ve seen the impacts and suffering caused by second-hand smoking first hand, and I would never knowingly cause anyone to suffer like that. Ok, I’ll end my rant now.


    • Megan Nafke
      Aug 30, 2011 @ 22:27:49

      Live and let live is good rule to live by. That was one of the best arguments I have heard about not smoking in public. I totally agree with you. I told my mom and she’s going to use it next time she argues with people about smoking.


  2. tamerietherton
    Aug 30, 2011 @ 04:02:49

    Yep, I’m with you and Naomi. Smoking is gross and your post makes me think back to a commercial they had where a mom was smoking and the smoke came out of the kids’ mouth. Very disturbing.

    My mom smoked while pregnant with us, around my son who had asthma issues, my niece who gets asthma so bad she has to be rushed to the ER, and her reply was always that she could smoke if she wanted to. Ugh!!! She’s finally quit – why? Because her doctor put her on Advair for asthma. So, once it affected her health she quit. Makes me angry. People can be so selfish.

    Can you talk to the administration at the campus and make ‘smoking areas’ like they have at Disneyland? Yes, smokers have rights, but so do those kids and mamas.


    • Megan Nafke
      Aug 30, 2011 @ 22:40:53

      I have seen that commercial! I like how the commercials are started to illustrate the consequences of second hand smoking.

      Thank you for sharing your experiences with second hand smoking. You have every right to be angry. It’s hard to believe that people don’t understand how their smoking causes asthma. How is your son and niece doing? I hope they are better now that she stopped smoking.

      Seeking help from the campus doesn’t really work. Both colleges have rules against smoking near any buildings. Staff and students complain about students breaking the rules. However, there just isn’t enough police on campus to really enforce the rule. I think it’s a great idea for a roped off area for smokers. It would make it so they can only smoke away from paths and buildings.


  3. Hartford
    Aug 30, 2011 @ 04:29:32

    In NB, Canada, we’ve been implementing a number of new smoking laws over the last few years. There’s no smoking in restaurants, bars, malls etc (no smoking in public places). Add to that, smoking in a car with a person under 16 years old is illegal. And, smoking is not permitted within 10 meters of the entrance to any public building (schools, daycares, work buildings etc).

    I smoked for a number of years and I’ve been smoke free for nearly 7 years now. And I can say quite honestly that as both a smoker and a non-smoker, I never had an issue with NOT smoking around children or non-smokers. Smoking is unhealthy and offensive and although I have the right to smoke, I don’t have the right to inflict it on anyone else…period!


    • Megan Nafke
      Aug 30, 2011 @ 22:57:36

      Congratulations on being smoke free for almost 7 years! I know from watching other people quit that it’s hard.

      Wow Canada has some wonderful anti smoking laws. I especially like the law that prohibits smoking in cars with minors. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people smoking in cars with young children.


  4. Kenny Johnson
    Sep 01, 2011 @ 08:42:00

    We are setting a dangerous precedent with these sorts of laws. Just wait until you can’t have any “sweetened” beverages around children because “It may influence them to try them and become addicted and cause them to become obese”. How about we stop making nanny laws and actually become ACTIVE parents and take the initiative to not smoke around your children.


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