Viewer Responses: Anti-Smoking Law

I agree that it's sad that a parent wouldn't want the best health for their children.  I also agree that children should have someone standing up for them, if their parents make poor choices regarding their health.  The question is this though, if the Government feels it's their place to make that call for the children, then where do they draw the line?  I mean, couldn't they make it a law that parents only feed their children healthy food, and make their children get proper sleep and excersize?

It really is a matter of common sense, and respect towards others.  So, what's truly sad, is that today's society has such a low sense of integrity that they would disrespect the health of their children, as well as themselves, and other's, by wanting to smoke in their vehicle!



Let me begin by informing you that I am NOT a smoker nor have I ever been.  But I can not agree with you on this new law in Bangor, Maine.

I have several points to explain my position.

First and foremost, I believe that this IS a giant intrusion by government into the private lives of it's citizens.  I can find no provision in the Constitution that gives government the authority to restrict a person from being ignorant. However, I will admit that law makers at all levels have developed the attitude that they are smarter than their constituents. In the case of smokers they may be right.  But they do not have the authority to write such legislation.

Second, I also grew up in a home with smokers - just like you did.  I do not suffer any ill effects from second hand smoke and you appear to have lived a lengthy life so it didn't kill you either.  The point is that second hand smoke is not harmful to an otherwise healthy child. It can be harmful to children with breathing problems such as asthma.

Third, assuming that second hand smoke is really harmful, then why not ban smoking around children anywhere?  This law does NOT protect children from second hand smoke unless they are riding in a car.  The only real purpose it serves is to allow the authors & proponents to feel good about themselves by addressing a concern - smoking in cars - that creates merely transient exposure. The exposure in homes is far greater in duration and therefore far more significant than exposure in cars.

Fourth, this new law also has provisions for jail time for repeat offenders.  Now that is really brilliant!  Locking up the parents will certainly have a negative effect on the children - probably much more effect than second hand smoke.  So in my opinion, the cure is worse than the problem.

Last of all, the correct pronunciation is 'Ban-gore.'

Dennis, White Lake, NC


I agree that this is indeed a fine line. But I do agree that we need to protect the children first and foremost. Considering you have to be 18 to buy cigarettes, where is the law that protects our kids that are not yet 18 who are exposed to second hand smoke? If it is illegal to buy cigarette as a minor, then there should indeed be a law that prohibits smoking  in a car which  exposes these kids to such poisons. why would we not want to protect our children by having a voice to protect them. Most people don't want their kids to smoke, yet they continue, as if there are no consequences.  If people are in a closed car, the children have no rights at all. There are people who are addicted to the point that they do not think outside the box. (cigarette box, that is) Public buildings and restaurants have finally (for the most part) recognized the dangers of second hand smoke and banned it totally. Take care of our kids even if we have to make new laws.


I agree with the law in Maine.   I wish that it would be illegal for children to be seated in the smoking sections of restaurants.  Children cannot buy cigarettes but have to endue all of the smoke while eating.  This makes no sense to me.  You might as well let them smoke.  Personally I get deathly ill when I see parents blowing smoke into the face of a month old baby.  What are they thinking?  I do not want to take away their right to smoke, but please be considerate of those who do not.

Thank you.




I am a smoker but I do not smoke in the car when I have anyone in the car with me that does not smoke.  I think the whole idea of making it illegal to smoke in our car is infringing on our rights as car owners and citizens.  James


I am a former smoker myself. I have been without cigarettes for at least 18 years. I applaud the city of Bangor, Maine. Children need to be protected from second hand smoke. I wish the state of N.C. would stop smokers from smoking in cars with children. I would also like to see smokers banned from smoking in restaurants. Let me breathe! Donald


I have a hard time supporting laws that are so intrusive, but I also have a hard time with the fact that some people do not consider anyone other than themselves.  I have been teaching in the public school system for 17 years and have encountered children who are shunned because they smell of cigarettes.  Not just a little...... they literally reek of cigarette smoke.  Their parents smoke in the car on the way to school, as well as in their homes.  Their clothes need to be destroyed.  When they come to school they expose the rest of the class to the smell.  As a parent, I felt a huge responsibility to protect my children and teach them right from wrong.  I agree that it is a shame that we would even need such laws, but after seeing the things children are exposed to by their parents WHO KNOWS!  Would the laws work?  I still see kids who are not buckled up.  I hear everyday that one of my students has viewed an R rated film.(9 years old).  It is easy to have children, but it is difficult being a parent. Sharon


I saw your editorial this morning and was not surprised but somewhat dismayed by your response.  It is the government's job to protect the people but be sensible!  You mentioned that your parents were smokers, and that you "identified" with the helpless children subjected to second hand smoke.  When our generation came along everybody's parents were smokers and we all had that cross to bear and by the way you seem to have weathered this abuse OK.  However, your sense of right and wrong is amiss again, how can we condone abortion as a person's right to choose (which is an automatic death sentence for the child) yet make more arcane laws about smoking in the car?  Next thing you know you'll be thumping for Hillary Clinton and resurrecting the ridiculous mantra that "It takes a village to raise a child".




I think sometimes its people like you that cause all of our rights to go away. I am a smoker yes I think we as smoker need to be aware when we smoke around our kids. Just because you don't smoke you need to think before you speak. If they try to take something away you like how would you feel. Your voice can be heard by a lot of viewers .And I think you need to be careful what you say on TV when your view goes out to alot people. When our rights are being taking every day. It want be long until we want be able to worship anymore because of people like you who are to speak out public air ways it is just like they are trying put parents in jail for spanking  their on child this is why kids are the way they are . Thank for your time my name is Tim.


This new anti-smoking law in Maine just reinforces how out of control our government has become.  I don't think anyone doubts that second hand smoke is dangerous, but, what people do in the privacy of their own homes and their own cars is their OWN BUSINESS.  With the amount of time law makers and anti-smoking groups have spent on making smoking illegal, you would think that we had no other worries, like an exit strategy for Iraq, rebuilding New Orleans, widespread poverty in our own country etc.  Sure, you probably shouldn't expose your kids to a lot of second hand smoke, and most smokers try not to, but it is not a crime.  As far as children inheriting the habit, I don't think they pick it up from their parents, usually it's peers.  You didn't pick up your parents "oppresive" smoking habit, did you?  However, children do pick up their parents' poor eating and exercise habits, how about a law against feeding kids happy meals?   Obesity is certainly deadly.   Why don't you use your commentary to accost fat people for their "filthy" gluttony?  Quit whining, talk about something important.


Where does invasion of privacy come in?  No, you are right, none of us want our kids to smoke and if we smoke around them, we are probably going to have children that smoke!  But the next thing that will come after this would be coming into our homes and telling us we can't smoke there!!!

What is happening to our freedoms in America, we all know tobacco is not good for you, but give us the benefit of the doubt, are we going to start living under a communist state or just what is it coming to?

I OBJECT, we have to right to privacy and to raise our children, the government is trying to control every move we seem to be making, but we still have our CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS or we did the last time I checked on it!! We keep on allowing things like this to happen and we might as well live in Russia or somewhere else!!!!!!!!



YES, YES, YES!!! I think this is a crucial addition to our list of child protection laws... why should second hand smoke inhalation in a car be treated any differently than a child not riding in a properly restrained car seat?? Let's take it a step further and cite pregnant women for smoking. Anyone who knowingly puts a fetus, infant or child in harms way should be reprimanded in some some way. I could go on all night.....



This is really going too far.

Sorry you had to move out of your parent's house because of their smoking and I assume you never ventured back. I smoked for 30 years and was smoking more than 2 packs a day prior to quitting. I have not smoked since November 1988. I was the heavy smoker when I left my parents house and smoked every time I went back for visits. My parents never wanted me to smoke they tried to stop me but I smoked anyway. I smoked when my children were growing up and eventually two of three did smoke, one has quit and my third (the oldest) never smoked. Smoking was prevalent in the 50's,60's,70's and into the 80's, I worked, ate, watched movies, waited at bus stops, attended sporting events and many other types of events next to people who also smoked. It was not easy to escape smokers including myself in those days, but it appears you did, at least that was the impression I got listening to your commentary, Please tell us how you did it?

Smoking is an addiction that many non-smokers seem not to want to know. Nicotine levels in cigarettes have been increase per a recent study but nobody talks about rehab for smokers only for drug and alcohol abusers, especially if your in sports or entertainment. When I was trying to quit I received no support from non-smoking co-workers or my employer, when I was moody, edgy or short-tempered. It was up to me to maintain a so called normal temperament at work.

Smokers and other tobacco users will be around until tobacco is completely banned and that will only happen when taxes on all tobacco products are no longer included in federal and state budgets. And lets not forget the revenue being made to make and run the anti-smoking ads and commercials by various types of media, they should be made and run free as public announcements only. No money should be made from tobacco by anyone other then researchers for cancer related cures.

I also believe no one should be able to sue tobacco companies for not knowing the effects of smoking on their health, I knew at 13 it was bad. Everyone that tried to stop me said it was bad for me and my health. Remember the term coffin nails that was used in the 20's and 30's.



Dear Sir:

You are way off base on this issue.  It may be that your personal experience with two smokers in the family has "clouded" your ability to rationally approach this topic.

People in Bangor should be extremely upset about a regulation that prohibits smoking while a minor is in the car.  That is clearly an example of government stepping over the line.  Does the Bangor city council intend to outlaw every other supposed vice that a parent may do in front of a minor?  While not a vice, talking on cell phones may lead to accidents that kill far more people than second-hand smoke in an automobile.  Most people who smoke in a car tend to open the window a bit anyway.

Elected officials should perform publicly necessary functions for the good of the community.  They should not try to legislate every choice we make.  Why do we think government knows best?  Why do we continually look for ways to shirk our own responsibility?  A parent who smokes in a car with a minor present is stupid and probably does many other things that can provide greater overall danger to that minor.  But it is not the role of any government to try and monitor stupidity!

Please reconsider your position on this issue.

Thank you.



The statement was:" 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"....   I think that has been pushed far passed its limits and has taken AWAY the rights of "choice" by citizens. The right to "protect" is one thing, but "forcing" a person to live in ANY particular way is wrong.  How far must this go? To "protect" a person, could possibly mean that you should completely board up there doors and windows, so they could not get out of their own home, because "if " they did, they "could" fall down the steps and break their necks. Now, this might sound very silly to some, but, our laws have gone so far, that we have lost our "freedom" to choose anything.  People are no longer treated as though they have the good sense to make any kind of decision.

The "baby boomers" lived through a time where they were not "forced" by law to wear seat belts, that have killed just as many people as they have saved!  That was not enough, they were "forced" by law to have AIR BAGS in cars, that "could" kill them, smother them, or break their necks! The "choice" to have or not have was taken away!  Let's not forget that the "baby boomers" that are alive today had parents, that "SPANKED" their children and we grew up knowing what was right and what was wrong and what to respect and what not to, FROM those spankings and punishments!  That right was taken out of the hands of parents and they were told it was against the law to spank or hit children. They were told that if you spank or hit a child, they growing up "learning" to hit. Take a good look at the "baby boomers" of today. Do they automatically go out and pick arguments, or try to run people over with cars, or just punch people when someone upsets them? I don't think so!  Now, look at the children that have grown up, not being spanked or corrected....drinking, drugs, and crime is higher than it's ever been in history! That says a lot for letting our laws and ordinances handle it!!! Why not give the parents back the choice of knowing their children and how to handle and raise them, something the government knows nothing about?  Why not give the "free people" of the United States, "free choice" on whether or not they want to wear a seat belt or have an air bag?  And, so it leads on up to the "Smoking Issue".  Our choices have been taken away from us one by one, until we have no choice at all.  I, personally, started smoking 43 years ago. At that time, tobacco was grown in the fields with NO chemicals involved in the process.  I am not trying to make just a simple excuse for myself though.  But, this fact, is true. At that time, there was NO label on cigarettes as to being hazardous to your health or anything, no warning, no nothing.  Years pass and all kinds of chemicals are put ON tobacco in the growing process, and IN tobacco for the making of cigarettes.  AFTER, everyone is fully ADDICTED to them, our "law" decides to make or force you into quitting smoking.  All kinds of things come up, as to "second hand" smoke and the "offensiveness" to others, and the "damage to others".  How many times do you see on TV, that someone has died from lung cancer, but NEVER SMOKED A CIGARETTE???? Never! But, you sure hear on TV that "smoking" causes lung cancer! WHAT "caused" the cancer in the person that died from lung cancer that NEVER smoked? No one talks about it.....   Yes, smoking probably does cause lung cancer, but, after someone has been addicted to it for over 40 years, some just can't stop it on demand!  When it comes down to what you do and don't do within your own car, home, and with your own family or children, I think the "freedom of CHOICE" should NOT be taken away. We have lost too many "freedoms" now!  I believe I heard on TV, a lot about Obesity, how that fast foods should be "controlled" FOR those who over eat or get too many calories. Yes, they KNOW that they are the sizes they are. They KNOW they over eat and the foods they eat may not be a good choice...  but, should that "freedom" of "choice" be taken away from them?  Actually, it has been PROVEN that someone who over eats and is obese has an ENORMOUS amount of health problems, high blood pressure that can kill, diabetes that can kill, and so on.  But, are these people made to sit in a section of their own? Are there restaurants for the perfect size people? Like there are for  totally non-smoking people?  There are no restaurants for just "smoking" people! HOW is this "freedom"?  Oh, and peoples own children should be "protected" from the "harmful second hand smoke that could damage their health"....  So, does this mean that each and every adult should be examined by a government appointed physician and if ANYTHING physical be found wrong with them, then they should not be ALLOWED to HAVE children, because that WOULD be protecting the children from the beginning, right?  Was this not called "Hitler"????? And, was his "perfect" human race idea, with his "perfect rule" not destoyed???

I say on the "Smoking" issue, FREEDOM of CHOICE and the laws and ordinances on it, thrown out the window. Give people BACK their RIGHTS!!!!  Judy

I'm so tired of hearing that smokers think their rights are being infringed upon.

They certainly never think of our rights when they throw their butts out the window of their car on people's front lawns - or the street.

Last I heard, littering is a crime and comes with a rather hefty fine (alas the police could care less about enforcing this).

Since when was the whole world made their personal public ashtray!

Used to be that when you bought a car, it came with an ashtray. Now I don't believe you get one unless it's at an additional price (if you even can).


I have been giving a lot of thought to the recent editorial about smoking in your car.  First of all I consider it an infringement on our personal space, what's next, our homes?  Its the governments job to inform and warn people of dangers, not to legislate laws to protect us from ourselves.  If you have ever read the book or seen the movie "1984", this is exactly what this country is coming too.  Where ever you go today you are constantly under some sort of surveillance, for the purposes of crimes, that's a good thing, but with all the crime here in Wilmington and other cities, that's just what the police need, watching out for people smoking in their car.  Personally I think it's totally absurd.




I think the government is infringing on our rights by telling us what we can and cannot do in our personal space,I smoked for thirty years and quit on my own but I believe

each and everyone has a right to decide for him or her self what they wish to do.Barriers are being put up everywhere against smoking even(and I had to lauge about this)

in bars.Let's get real! Tell me how many children have died this year from smoking?How many young people have died this year from smoking?Now tell me how many children have died this year as a result of a drunking driver?How many Teenagers have died this year as a result of drinking?Nothing is being done to stop the carnage on the highways due to drinking and driving We lost our nineteen year od granddaughter due to drinking and driving to fast.The oldest person in the car was under 21,But they were all served booze at a bar.Incidently the bar is stll open and probably still serving underage patrons.Noone has ever said that smoking is the cause of cancer, .maybe a contributing factor. Drive through north Jersey and see and smell the polution that one is breathing in and tell me this is not a health risk..This your kids what you believe will hurt them and keep Big Brother out of it

Thank you,