Something on the Internet this weekend caught our attention.
The town of Bangor, Maine, has passed an ordinance prohibiting adults from smoking in a car when a minor is riding with them. If police pull the driver over, smokers can be subject to a fifty dollar ticket.
The issue was enormously controversial in Bangor. The city council heard from several people who said this was the ultimate sign of government intrusion into their private lives. We actually understand their point, but we're not sure we agree with them.
What really upsets us about this issue is that there is actually a need for such legislation. Most of the smokers we know would like to quit. There are a few, and, hopefully only a few, who are content with their nasty habit; but we've never met a smoker who wants their children to inherit their addiction. So why in the world would they expose them to second-hand smoke; especially in such a confined area like an automobile?
For me this debate literally hits home. I grew up in a house with parents who smoked several packs a day. Being surrounded by so much smoke was oppressive. I couldn't wait to move out!
It's not the job of any government to limit our freedoms; but it is the responsibility of elected officials to look out and protect its citizens - especially those who do not have a voice of their own.
Come to think of it, if smokers in Bangor continue to light up in their cars despite this legislation, maybe a fifty dollar fine isn't large enough.