Ban smoking in cars when kids are riding

Many Ohio legislators are concerned enough about the lives of the unborn pushing for a ban on abortions performed after a fetal heartbeat can be detected. Surely such compassion extends to protecting the health of children after they are born.

Lawmakers can do that by enacting state Senate Bill 78, which bans adults from smoking in vehicles when children are riding along.

SB 78 would ban drivers from smoking in a car if there is a passenger under 6 years of age. It would impose a $500 fine for violators, with fines increasing for each additional infraction.

Exposure to second-hand smoke is dangerous — and can eventually be deadly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 7,300 nonsmokers die in the U.S. each year from lung cancer caused by exposure to second-hand smoke at work or at home.

For children exposed early and often to second-hand smoke, the consequences can be asthma, respiratory infections, ear infections and even sudden infant death syndrome. For many, spending time with a trusted adult who smokes might help lead them to the habit as well.

Among the arguments against such a ban is that an adult should be free to smoke in his or her own car without government interference. It is a personal freedom issue.

That argument should not carry any water with the same folks who dismiss personal freedom arguments in discussing abortion.But it appears that very argument carried some weight in the West Virginia Legislature, which earlier this year saw a bill similar to Ohio’s SB 78 introduced. It died before getting out of committee.

If it is wrong to kill a child quickly and before it is born, it is wrong to kill a child slowly after it is born. Plain and simple.

Ohio lawmakers should pass the ban on drivers smoking with children in their car. It is the right thing to do.