In many places across the U.S., cigarette smokers are relegated to the outdoors and their own property. A new public health movement, however, is now looking to protect children from second hand smoke in cars.
A new poll conducted by the University of Michigan Health System has shown that 82% of American adults support a ban on smoking in vehicles that contain children under the age of 13. Moreover, 87% of adults support a ban on smoking in any business place where children are allowed. 75% even support a ban on smoking in homes that contain children with asthma.
"Smoke is a real health hazard for kids whose lungs are still developing, and especially for kids who have illnesses like asthma where the lungs are particularly fragile and flare up when exposed to secondhand smoke," said Dr. Matthew Davis, director of the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health and a professor of pediatrics at Michigan's medical school.
Seven states (Louisiana, Arkansas, California, Illinois, Oregon, Utah, and Maine) currently have laws banning smoking in cars that contain children. The American Academy of Pediatrics began calling for legislation banning the practice in 2007.
"Given the high level of public support for laws prohibiting smoking in vehicles with children in this poll, it may be that the bans enacted by a small number of states should be considered by many more states, and perhaps at the national level," said Davis.
"Forty of the 50 states currently ban smoking in public places in one form or another. At this time, we are not aware of laws at this time that prohibit smoking in homes where children have asthma or other lung conditions. However, the level of public support for ways to reduce children's exposure to secondhand smoke is so high that now may be the time to for public health officials and legislators to move forward on ideas like these to protect children's health,"