As recently as last year, the conventional wisdom was that a statewide smoking ban would never fly in Indiana. But I think the mood of the legislature has shifted -- if a ban isn't taken up this year, the only reason will be that it's a short sesssion and property taxes are such a pressing concern. And there is this, House Bill 1056:
Smoking in passenger vehicles. Provides a $25 penalty for a person who smokes in a passenger motor vehicle while a minor who is less than 13 years of age is in the vehicle. Prohibits stopping, inspecting, or detaining a person solely to determine compliance. Provides that the penalty for a subsequent violation is $100. Deposits penalties into the tobacco use prevention and cessation trust fund.
Via Tinnel Vision, a blog by IPFW student Kody Tinnel, who says that he is strongly against public smoking bans that don't allow businesses to cater to their customers but that he can support this idea because smoking with a child in the car is "a mild form of child abuse."
There is a logic to that position. We allow consenting adults to do all sorts of things things we shield children from. If secondhand smoke is a danger, we can volunteer to be exposed to it. Children usually have no say about whether to ride in their parents' cars.
But "in a car" is not the only way children can be exposed to secondhand smoe, merely the most publicly visible way. Accepting this bill means being receptive to the idea of banning smoking in the home if children are present, and fining women who smoke when they are pregnant. How far down that road do we want to go? I realize I'm making a slippery-slope argument here, but the slope seems to get very slippery whenever it's "for the children."
My experience may not be typical, but most of the smokers I know who have children have long since relegated themselves to the front porch when they indulge.