In East Texas, we take great time to protect our children from a lot of things such as bullying, profanity, violence, abuse and so on. All of these represent our highest levels of priority in terms of keeping our children the safe, healthy playful little people who fill our world with boundless joy. With this in mind, should it be illegal to smoke in a vehicle with children?

A colleague shared this scenario with me yesterday from his drive in Tyler traffic:

Pulling up to a major intersection in Tyler in my Jeep, I look around as most people do when faced with the boredom of 45 seconds of waiting for the light to change green. What I see makes me furious. A woman was sitting in her white mini-van in traffic next to me. The windows were all the way up and cigarette in the hand. An ash hanging off the tip, at least an inch long that in a silent way has probably been begging her to tip it into an ashtray for the last few intersections at least. I can clearly see the stratus cloud of smoke swimming in the air, trapped inside her mini-van with her. Behind this woman are two car seats filled with laughing little girls. Sisters I suspect probably both about 3-5 years old, playing and laughing with each other while they unknowingly breathe the smoky air. Trapped in the mini-van like tiny cute hostages to the impending health issues from second hand smoke inhalation. As a father of a 2 year old and a 6 year old it took a lot of my power not to hop out of my Jeep and bang on the ladies’ window. I wanted to tell her, “ Pull over, smoke your cigarette outside AWAY from those children and stop subjecting them to your nasty habit and all the health issues that it represents.” The light turned green though and I was forced to move on, thinking about this all the way to work.

Most of us know someone, or some people who choose to smoke in their vehicle. When you choose to ride with them, you choose to deal with it. Perhaps you choose to deal with it because of the backlash and tension of asking them not to smoke while in their car. The difference is, these children have no choice.

Taking into consideration how far as a society we have gone to limit smoking in public. We respect the nasal passages and lungs of people in proximity that we don’t even know, do you think that smoking in a vehicle with children should be illegal?

More From Mix 93.1