Maine Passes Law To Protect Children From Second-Hand Smoke

As adults we are made aware of the dangers that we pose to ourselves and the people around us when we smoke. Smoking is a stress reliever for many people and is highly addictive making it a hard habit to break. However, in exchange for a bit of relief throughout the day you are staining your teeth, living with bad breath, and killing your lungs.

It is one thing for adults to smoke and to knowingly hurt themselves in the process – but when they smoke around young children they are also hurting them with their second-hand smoke – which can be just as bad and can hurt their lungs.

On Monday Maine will join other states as well as a few provinces in Canada who have made it illegal for anyone to smoke in a car while a child is with them. For the first year that the law is in effect violators will only be receiving warnings.

The law was passed by Legislature earlier this year that prevented someone from smoking in the car while a child of 16 and under was present. Arkansas, California, and Louisiana have already passed laws that are similar to this while other states have only looked at the proposal – but have not adopted it.

Governor John Baldacci of Maine felt that the new law was a strike against second-hand smoke and stands firm in his belief that tobacco products and the usage of them takes too many lives and too much money is spent on it. The federal Environmental Protection Agency, which urges smoke-free homes and cars, says secondhand smoke increases the number of asthma attacks and severity of asthma symptoms as well as lower respiratory tract infections for children under 18 months of age.

Developing lungs of young children are severely affected by exposure to secondhand smoke, the EPA says. Children receiving high doses of secondhand smoke, such as those with smoking mothers, run the greatest risk of damaging health effects. The U.S. Surgeon General also warns of links between secondhand smoke exposure and cancer and heart disease.

August 31st, 2008 • tonks • News and Opinion Comments Off


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