Term Paper: Smoking in Cars

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[. . .] "The public may tell pollsters that they support this kind of law, because it might sound plausible, but politicians have a responsibility to hold back the creeping tentacles of the meddling nanny state, not think up new ways to persecute private citizens" (Brown, 2014). This is an ethical fear and a sound one. These protesters are in fact shedding light on what is turning out to be an incredibly disturbing trend: in small increments the government is garnering more and more control over the private choices of citizens. These protestors do have a reason to be worried as governments become totalitarian not overnight, but in increments of imbalance that their citizens allow them to have -- by taking liberties that their citizens allow them to take.

Other dissenters to this proposed legislation remark that it will probably be as effective as the ban on using cell phones in cars. For example, it's illegal to text and drive; in fact, it's illegal to touch one's cell phone at all while driving. However, people continue to do this: people continue to use their cell phones all the time as they drive. The ban on mobile phone use and driving hasn't really been terribly effective. Thus, there's a legitimate concern about how effective the ban on smoking in the car while children are present will in fact end up being.

Other dissenters argue that this isn't even about civil liberties or about child protection that it's about class. These individuals argue that the entire issue orbits around the fact that legislators are essentially pointing out the fact that the members of the middle class make the best parents, and that everyone else needs to be more like them. The dissenters to this ban essentially argue that the core issue at stake is the fact that politicians don't feel like the poor or lower classes are able to make appropriate choices with their kids. The middle class: "in the feedback loop of the bourgeoisie, their behavior (breastfeeding, long maternity leave and well-planned paternity leave) begets better bonding, leads them to care more, which leads to even better behavior. (Well, it's obvious, isn't it? Middle class people never smoke all over their children in enclosed spaces -- in the rather circular logic that comes about, once 'middle class' is synonymous with 'responsible', smoking at all makes you no longer authentically middle class")" (Williams, 2014). At its most fundamental, this is a narrative which feels like the lower classes are consistently making poorer decisions with their children, and instead of offering them forms of education to correct this, politicians are treating these people as if they need to be browbeaten into doing exactly what the state says. Instead, the most forward-thinking politicians need to take it as a principle that parents love their children with an equal level of intensity despite their income level: this principle needs to be at the base layer of their political activity. Many dissenters to the ban do illuminate how much of the dissention is connected to the seemingly harmless language of risk management and in conjunction with perspectives that attempt to demonize behavior, but are actually demonizing class (Williams, 2014). As many opponents to this ban do illuminate, if politicians are really serious about making some changes, then they need to start first by educating people about why it's bad to smoke in a car and to smoke in a car with children. Educating adults about these very real dangers will no doubt be incredibly effective with the bulk of reasonable adults out there, who genuinely don't want to being harmful to their children. Education won't be a perfect solution to this issue, but no answer is. There are always going to be parents out there who will in the end just do what they want no matter what the cost or damage to their kids. There will always be parents who will be in denial of the ill-effects of smoking in cars, and there will be some parents who will immediately forget whatever they've been told about the ill impacts of smoking in cars. However, the bulk of all well-meaning parents, regardless of income will be urged to stop smoking in their cars once given the appropriate reasons for doing so. In this case, education is likely to be more effective, appealing to parents' inherent sense of good and innate well-meaning for their children and their desire to protect.

Summary

Thus, the proposed ban on smoking is riddled with pros and cons. While the ethical benefits of the ban are clear: they offer protection to the most vulnerable class of citizens -- children. The ban proposes a protection to the lung and health of children when they are generally helpless to protect those things themselves. However, such a ban presents yet another ethical issue, which is the right to privacy, and the right to privacy of public spaces. There is the issue that children are just being used as pawns in an overall desire to control citizens. There is also the issue that private freedoms and child protection aren't at the core of this issue at all, that instead it's just an elaborate case of class conflict, when at the reality, education is the best solution to this issue.

References

Ash.org. (n.d.). Smoking Should be Banned in Cars Whenever Children are Present. Retrieved from Ash.org: http://ash.org/carsmoking

Brown, A. (2014, Jan 29). Banning smoking in cars is wrong: where would it end? Retrieved from telegraph.co.uk: http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/andrewmcfbrown/100257222/banning-smoking-in- cars-is-wrong-where-would-it-end/

Healthday. (2013, July 23). Poll: U.S. Adults Support Smoking Ban in Cars With Kids. Retrieved from usnews.com: http://health.usnews.com/health-news/news/articles/2013/07/23/poll- us-adults-support-smoking-ban-in-cars-with-kids

Jarvie, J., & Malone, R. (2008). Children's Secondhand Smoke Exposure in Private Homes and Cars: An Ethical Analysis. American Journal of Public Health, 2140 -- 2145.

Williams, Z. (2014, February 11). Smoking in cars: the hidden agenda behind the ban. Retrieved from theguardian.com: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/feb/11/in-car- smoking-ban-mps-children-poor-parents [END OF PREVIEW]

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Smoking in Cars.  (2014, March 19).  Retrieved March 26, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/smoking-cars/7987200

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"Smoking in Cars."  Essaytown.com.  March 19, 2014.  Accessed March 26, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/smoking-cars/7987200.