Students tell lawmakers to ban smoking in cars

BISMARCK – North Dakota students and tobacco-free supporters gave state lawmakers an hour’s worth of reasons Friday about why they should outlaw smoking with kids in the car.

More than a dozen Williston and Bismarck students attended the hearing to show their support for House Bill 1150.

The bill would ban smoking in vehicles if children younger than 13 are present, even if a window is rolled down. The proposed fine is $50.

Several students talked about their health problems from secondhand smoke or presented research on the topic.

From the age of zero to 5, children can inhale 102 packs of cigarettes from secondhand smoke, said Austin Anderson, a freshman at Williston High School.

“What choice does this child have? We buckle them in a car seat for safety. Put a blanket over their heads so they don’t breathe in cold air. Yet we expose them to deadly toxins,” he said.

Williston High School freshman Hailey Bendixson spoke of growing up around secondhand smoke and the related health problems that caused her to miss school.

She told lawmakers that other states such as Arkansas, Louisiana and California have passed similar laws banning smoking with kids in the car.

“Please remember, it is the parents’ idea to smoke in the car with children present, not the children’s,” Bendixson said. “I encourage you to lend your support and vote yes on this bill.”

The bill previously failed with an age limit of 16. Supporters decided to try the bill again this session with an age of 13.

Bismarck physical education/health teacher Amy Heuer brought students from a tobacco-free student group who wanted to support the bill.

“Our kids do want smoke-free cars. And it’s not teachers that are telling them that,” she said. “It’s not health people that are saying, ‘Hey, you need to do this.’ The kids want to breathe smoke-free air in vehicles.”

No one testified against the bill Friday, though a few lawmakers have expressed doubts that it will pass.

Rep. Gary Sukut, R-Williston, one of the bill’s co-sponsors, said some lawmakers have spoken against legislating common sense.

“But you know what? We do,” Sukut said, pointing to seat belt and helmet laws. “We pass common sense things to protect ourselves against our own ignorance, I guess we’d have to say.”

The bill would not break new ground, and the pros outweigh the cons, he said.

“If you don’t believe there’s potential harm there from secondhand smoke, then you haven’t listened because I think there’s plenty of facts that have been put out this morning,” Sukut told his fellow lawmakers.

The House Transportation Committee did not act on the bill.

You can find video from today’s testimony on this bill here.

4 thoughts on “Students tell lawmakers to ban smoking in cars

  1. what has happend to personal responsibility. do we need to have a law for everything. ban smoking totally then, oh wait we get to many tax dollars from tobacco. then the “i want a law for everything people” will have to pay more taxes to make up for no tobacco money. i bet they will step right up>

  2. Kids in Cars. The real Story

    Comments to the article and to the CBC Ombudsman;

    “In 1975 Sir George Goober, British delegate to the World Health organization
    presented his blueprint for eliminating tobacco use worldwide by changing
    social attitudes.

    “ would be essential to foster an atmosphere where it was perceived that
    active smokers would injure those around them, especially their families and
    any infants or young children who would be exposed involuntarily to EST..”

    I am extremely disappointed with the obvious decline of credibility and journalistic integrity at the CBC of late. The obvious promotion of the new bandwagon craze to stick it to anyone who smokes, whenever and where ever we can, will permanently place the CBC at the level of the National Inquirer and the infamous reputation of the British scandal rags we love to laugh at.

    BTW the smokers being stigmatized and stereotyped here, and in a host of stories you produce, are most significantly; the elderly, Racial minorities and always the poorest in our communities. That I consider a shameful and reprehensible act on your part.

    My comments and observations are in respect to the all too often seen tendency of publishing, whatever comes off the news wires, without even a precursory investigation of the source or validity of what you will report.

    Today I read an article which reported Doctors are supporting a ban in cars where children are present. The backup to the piece at first glance seemed to indicate a child would be in dire need of protection from hazards of tobacco smoke in high levels inside a vehicle.

    The research cited was a name I had never heard of so I thought I would check them out. The group is actually a subset of the American CDC who are responsible for a number of major blunders over the years in connection with fear mongering and exaggerations to a large degree embarrassing themselves and the American government in a number of damage controlled fiascoes.

    I took another look at what was being reported in your article and noticed some finely crafted authorship; the 35 ug/m3 was actually particulate not cigarette smoke at all, but of total particulate. The report cited demonstrated no effort to separate the particulate and identify what originated from a cigarette and what was pre-existing in the ambient air. Further the implied health risk did not mention the norm or the allowable levels so I had to help you out again, a quick search demonstrates from more reliable sources the average air quality annual measurements in outdoor air in 1997 was 36.5 ug/m3 and the strictest control regulations are now at 60ug/m3 annual average.

    Further there was no discussion of the volumes children actually inhale, of the total volume available. A child’s lung capacity @ 6 inhalations a minute of 1/2 liter inhalations, would take 5.6 hours in the car at the stated levels to inhale only 35ug of the total particulate reported, which hardly increases the health risk of that child to any degree. [ug = one Millionth of a gram; One gram = approximately 1 cubic millimeter of water]

    What is being proposed by “protecting children” in cars, is an air quality standard inside a car which is far lower than the unavoidable average particulate levels measured outside the vehicle.

    Which makes the CBC and anyone else promoting this legislation appear to be; as the CDC has done on many occasions, the dupes who listened to them once again and the scapegoats who will carry the embarrassment when the truth comes to light.

    This article amounts to no less than emotional blackmail, utilizing the “protection of children” to sell smoking patches and higher taxation of an addiction incredibly.

    The CBC is promoting the punishment of a medical dependency, and lists beside every incident other promotions of that lack of good judgment, as though it were something to be proud of?

    I guess it just goes to prove you can’t believe anything you hear today and the CBC is no different from the rest. Propaganda and irresponsible fear mongering, will take it’s toll. I for one will never again speak in favor of preserving a national broadcaster. We are just paying to subsidize another big business mouthpiece protecting them, by “protecting” us from ourselves.

  3. ’They have created a fear that is based on nothing’’
    World-renowned pulmonologist, president of the prestigious Research Institute Necker for the last decade, Professor Philippe Even, now retired, tells us that he’s convinced of the absence of harm from passive smoking. A shocking interview.

    What do the studies on passive smoking tell us?

    PHILIPPE EVEN. There are about a hundred studies on the issue. First surprise: 40% of them claim a total absence of harmful effects of passive smoking on health. The remaining 60% estimate that the cancer risk is multiplied by 0.02 for the most optimistic and by 0.15 for the more pessimistic … compared to a risk multiplied by 10 or 20 for active smoking! It is therefore negligible. Clearly, the harm is either nonexistent, or it is extremely low.

    It is an indisputable scientific fact. Anti-tobacco associations report 3 000-6 000 deaths per year in France …

    I am curious to know their sources. No study has ever produced such a result.

    Many experts argue that passive smoking is also responsible for cardiovascular disease and other asthma attacks. Not you?

    They don’t base it on any solid scientific evidence. Take the case of cardiovascular diseases: the four main causes are obesity, high cholesterol, hypertension and diabetes. To determine whether passive smoking is an aggravating factor, there should be a study on people who have none of these four symptoms. But this was never done. Regarding chronic bronchitis, although the role of active smoking is undeniable, that of passive smoking is yet to be proven. For asthma, it is indeed a contributing factor … but not greater than pollen!

    The purpose of the ban on smoking in public places, however, was to protect non-smokers. It was thus based on nothing?

    Absolutely nothing! The psychosis began with the publication of a report by the IARC, International Agency for Research on Cancer, which depends on the WHO (Editor’s note: World Health Organization). The report released in 2002 says it is now proven that passive smoking carries serious health risks, but without showing the evidence. Where are the data? What was the methodology? It’s everything but a scientific approach. It was creating fear that is not based on anything.

    Why would anti-tobacco organizations wave a threat that does not exist?

    The anti-smoking campaigns and higher cigarette prices having failed, they had to find a new way to lower the number of smokers. By waving the threat of passive smoking, they found a tool that really works: social pressure. In good faith, non-smokers felt in danger and started to stand up against smokers. As a result, passive smoking has become a public health problem, paving the way for the Evin Law and the decree banning smoking in public places. The cause may be good, but I do not think it is good to legislate on a lie. And the worst part is that it does not work: since the entry into force of the decree, cigarette sales are rising again.

    Why not speak up earlier?

    As a civil servant, dean of the largest medical faculty in France, I was held to confidentiality. If I had deviated from official positions, I would have had to pay the consequences. Today, I am a free man.

    Le Parisien

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