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Nanny State of the Week: Connecticut may outlaw smoking in many cars

By   /   January 11, 2016  /   No Comments

Part 67 of 121 in the series Nanny State of the Week

It certainly seems like we’re closing in on the day when smoking will be banned, full stop.

In the meantime, government nannies across the nation are still taking the piecemeal approach. With the habit already banned in most public spaces, private spaces are now coming under attack.

In Connecticut, that means smoking in cars could soon be illegal.

Shutterstock image

PULLED OVER FOR SMOKING? There’s no one alive who doesn’t know that smoking is harmful to one’s health. Governments must let people to be smart enough to make their own decisions. The alternative just gives more power to law enforcement.

A legislative task force in Hartford is “grappling with the best way to protect children from secondhand smoke, especially those riding in a vehicle with a smoker,” the Hartford Courant reports.

As is so often the case with governments, the concept of “protect” quickly got mixed up with the concept of “make otherwise-legal-activities illegal.”

Legislation in the state General Assembly would ban anyone from smoking while sharing a car with a child in a carseat (which are themselves mandatory for any kid under a certain height/weight combination). Eight other states and Puerto Rico already have similar bans on the books, although the age limit varies from a low of 8 (in Vermont) to as high as 18 (in California, of course).

MORE DISPATCHES FROM THE NANNY STATE: Town fines residents for having chipped paint, mismatched curtains

Does such a ban make sense?

Look, smoking is a nasty, unhealthy habit that has been conclusively proven to shorten the lives of smokers and those around them. Governments around the world have built an entire legal edifice around that basic fact, arguing they have a responsibility to protect all individuals from all threats, external and internal.

But ownership of one’s own body is a basic tenet of any property rights-based system.

This isn’t just about an individual’s choice, of course. There are children involved, which makes any property rights issue a little more muddled. Children aren’t the property of their parents or other adults, so we’ve long recognized the state’s authority to mandate or ban certain behavior when adults are interacting with kids.

Granted, any parent who smokes around their children is setting a bad example and likely passing health problems on to their progeny.

But any parent who feeds fast food to their children on a regular basis is doing the same thing. Should it be illegal to use a McDonald’s drive-through lane with children in the car?

There’s no one alive today who doesn’t know that smoking is harmful to one’s health. At a certain point, governments have to expect people to be smart enough to make their own decisions.

MORE NANNIES: Massachusetts town wants to ban all tobacco products

Because the alternate comes with some nasty unintended consequences.

According to the Courant, the proposed ban in Connecticut has been met with opposition from lawmakers concerned about “whether it could lead to profiling by police looking for a reason to pull over particular drivers. Other legislators have questioned whether such a law would even be enforceable.”

Oh, it’s enforceable, alright. As long as you’re OK with letting police officers pull over any driver they suspect of taking a puff.

Is that the best use of law enforcement’s time and energy? Does it lend itself easily to abuse — more easily, even, then the anti-drug and pro-seatbelt laws that have been passed in every state and have been used by police to profile drivers?

Can we all get together and agree that smoking in cars with kids present is a bad idea? I’d hope so.

Letting the government and law enforcement get involved, though, means the supposed cure could be worse than the disease.

Part of 121 in the series Nanny State of the Week
  1. Nanny-state state of the week: MD may become first to ban Vaportinis
  2. Nanny-state city of the week: Minneapolis wants to ban take-out trays
  3. Skim is in: CT lawmakers want to ban whole milk in day cares
  4. Nanny state of the week: Fairfax, VA, wants to limit the right to assemble
  5. Nanny state of the week: SC — and Schumer — for duplicative efforts to ban powdered alcohol
  6. Nanny of the Week: Virginia hoses down car wash fundraisers
  7. Nanny of the Week: Even a summertime trip to the beach can’t be nanny-free
  8. Nanny of the week: Federal authorities think feral cats can read signs
  9. Nanny of the week: Cambridge wants to ban ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft
  10. Nanny-stater of the week: NY lawmaker wants to ban photos with tigers
  11. Nanny-stater of the Week: Who needs cupcakes and candy? Here, have a pencil
  12. Nanny-stater of the week: Fargo limits kids to less than four shots of juice per day
  13. Nanny-stater of the week: Wisconsin towns fight repeal of bow ban
  14. Nanny of the week: No fun in the sun, thanks to Congress and FDA
  15. Nanny-stater of the week: DOT to ban cell phone use on planes
  16. Nanny of the week: The out-of-control trend of arresting non-helicopter moms
  17. Nanny of the Week: Vermont city could ban ‘human activity’
  18. Nanny of the Week: Mississippi makes bird feeders illegal – by accident
  19. Nanny of the week: MO town bans breastfeeding near pools
  20. Nanny of the Week: School bans lip balm, 11 year-old girl fights back
  21. Watchdog.org blows lid off Vermont’s bake sale brownie ban
  22. Nanny of the Week: Seattle imposes fine on residents who throw away food
  23. Nanny of the Week: California bans plastic bags
  24. Nanny of the week: Maybe this time it will be different for Chicago
  25. Nanny of the Week: Florida growls at craft breweries’ growlers
  26. Nanny of the Week: Massachusetts town seeking to ban tobacco faces uprising from residents
  27. Nanny of the Week: Proposed bans on Thanksgiving Day shopping
  28. Nanny of the week: U.S. government bans ‘Comfyballs’ underwear
  29. Nanny of the Week: Better take down those holiday decorations
  30. Nanny of the week: Towns ban sledding
  31. Nanny of the Week: New York City plans to ban out-of-state cars
  32. Nanny of the Week: Snow-shoveling teens get in trouble with the law
  33. Nanny of the Week: Get caught wearing yoga pants three times, go to jail for life
  34. Nanny of the Week: Georgia lawmaker wants to ban mermaids, werewolves, other fictional creatures from real life
  35. Nanny State of the Week: Endangering manatees in Florida
  36. Nanny of the Week: Christie caves to protectionist gravestone proposal in N.J.
  37. Nanny of the Week: Don’t mix beer and ice cream – because of the children
  38. Nanny of the Week: Is the minimum wage a nanny state policy?
  39. Nanny of the Week: Republican in NY backs cat declawing ban
  40. Nanny of the Week: NJ continues ban on self-serve gasoline, because sometimes it snows
  41. Nanny of the Week: Bernie Sanders is coming for your deodorant
  42. Nanny of the Week: Will babies confuse beer for their binkies?
  43. Nanny of the Week: Weeds will prevail in Maryland lawn care ban
  44. Nanny State of the Week: FDA bans trans-fats
  45. Nanny State of the Week: L.A. plans to jail unlicensed street vendors
  46. Nanny ST8 of the Week: Anti-government messages not allowed on license plates
  47. Nanny State of the Week: Helicopters, horses and New York City
  48. Nanny State of the Week: Lawsuit challenges Seattle trash snooping
  49. Nanny State of the Week: Town officials mandate mowing
  50. Nanny State of the Week: Florida county sends environmental specialist to investigate BBQ
  51. Nanny State: Despite menu nannies, Americans still fat!
  52. Nanny State of the Week: New York City’s ban on Styrofoam hurts businesses, consumers
  53. Nanny State of the Week: Colorado Springs may ban sitting in public places
  54. Nanny State of the Week: New York’s soda ban could be back — but for kids only
  55. Nanny State of the Week: D.C. flexing licensing muscles at personal trainers
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  57. Nanny State of the Week: County can use same lawn treatments it banned residents from using
  58. Nanny State of the Week: Pols want to ban daily fantasy sports
  59. Nanny State of the Week: Bay Area bureaucrats ban fireplaces, wood stoves
  60. Nanny State of the Week: Halloween for the politically correct only
  61. Nanny State of the Week: Governments lag behind the public on orca captivity ban
  62. Nanny State of the Week: New York might accidentally ban makeup
  63. Nanny State of the Week: California could be first state to apply no-fly list to guns
  64. Nanny State of the Week: University may block social media app in futile effort to combat racism
  65. Nanny State of the Week: City fines residents for chipped paint, mismatched curtains
  66. Nanny State of the Week: No Christmas in Bethlehem this year
  67. Nanny State of the Week: Connecticut may outlaw smoking in many cars
  68. Nanny State of the Week: Town inspection checks whether you cleaned your toilet
  69. Nanny State of the Week: Minnesota men facing felony charges for selling beer
  70. Nanny State of the Week: City rewrites law to block theater from getting liquor license
  71. Nanny State of the Week: FDA goes beyond the pale, prepares to ban teen tanning
  72. Nanny State of the Week: Charleston’s storied history is off-limits to the unlicensed
  73. Nanny State of the Week: Feds marketing food stamps with bingo games, TV ads
  74. Nanny State of the Week: No sipping and selling for Alabama winemakers
  75. Nanny State of the Week: Jail time for texting while walking in New Jersey
  76. Nanny State of the Week: In time for Opening Day, cities ban chewing tobacco at ballparks
  77. Nanny State of the Week: Feds send LSD Ale on a long, strange trip
  78. Nanny State of the Week: Happy Tax Day! Now get ready to pay more to file
  79. Nanny State of the Week: A state license for breast-feeding advice?
  80. Nanny State of the Week: School officials bully kids with ban on skinny jeans
  81. Nanny State of the Week: FDA fries family’s potato chip business with new cooking oil mandates
  82. Nanny State of the Week: CFPB knows what is best for your personal finances
  83. Nanny State of the Week: City cracks down on crawfish boils after mayor’s aide complains
  84. Nanny State of the Week: Florida couple still fighting for their vegetable garden
  85. Nanny State of the Week: State lawmakers to decide where you can get an Uber in Boston
  86. Nanny State of the Week: Businesses can’t sell parking spaces to Braves fans
  87. Nanny State of the Week: OK, everybody’s foam toys, out of the pool
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  91. Nanny State of the Week: Your pool isn’t cool
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  93. Nanny State of the Week: Protecting pub crawlers from themselves
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  96. Nanny State of the Week: Keep your kids off the trees
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  98. Nanny State of the Week: Chicken nannies hatch new regulations
  99. Environmental nannies can’t regulate cow farts — yet
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  101. Nanny State of the Week: Land regulation trampling on cultural history
  102. Nanny State of the Week: New Jersey’s great leaf-blowing war
  103. Nanny State of the Week: New York bans homesharing ads
  104. Nanny State of the Week: Food truck destruction by the health nannies
  105. Nanny State of the Week: Chicago tries again with plastic bag tax
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  119. Nanny State of the Week: Regulate all the teenagers
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