Home > Mental Rumblings > Smoking, as a Crime?

Smoking, as a Crime?

Should there be laws to protect children from second hand smoke? 

  1. August 20, 2009 at 11:01 am

    I “Agree” in one sense of the word “abuse” — it is “abusing the child” so this is the equivalent of “child abuse” in normal English. But, the phrase “child abuse” has technical and legal meanings in English. Jumping between the various nuances of a word is a classic dishonest rhetoric technique. Do I hear a turn of rhetoric coming? My antennae are humming!

  2. August 20, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    Most of the vast amount of misinformation concerning ETS (Environmental Tobacco Smoke) comes originally from the cherry-picked parts of the EPA’93 study. Having said that, smoking in a car with a child is just plain nasty for the child but of course it isn’t “abuse”. Saying so merely waters down the term. Children are suffering from real abuse every day and calling ETS “abuse” detracts from the horror of this abuse and is irresponsible loony neo-liberal thinking.

  3. Anoat Ozzel
    August 20, 2009 at 3:03 pm


    You posit an interesting argument. You and I seem to agree that the act of exposing a child to ETS is ‘nasty.’ Where you and I seem to disagree is on the nomenclature. I assume that you would not smoke in your car with other people, if they were not smokers themselves, nor would I assume that you smoke in your car with children. I would venture a guess that you do this out of courtesy and some deference to there wishes. You also have, I would further guess, a more than average appreciation for the detriment to one’s health that smoking or ETS can have. So, having that body of knowledge in your head, and understanding that a child is not capable of voicing an informed decision about whether or not he or she should be exposed to second hand smoke, ETS (Ie. Smoking in your car with a child) becomes a potentially harmful non-consensual act.

    Do I think that ETS is equivalent to starving, beating, raping, cutting or drugging a child? Nope. I do think that these all should fall under the rubric of abuse. As Sabio pointed out in his post, abuse can be defined more than one way.

    As for the loony neo-liberal thinking. I actually pool most of my thoughts from observational evidence, not unlike a biologist who works in the field. I see, every day of my life, children who present to me with a host of recurring upper respiratory infections whose parents do not seem to get the message that they are largely responsible for that child’s illness. On the other side of the argument, I have seen patients whose parents stopped smoking in the car or house and a lot of the child’s symptoms go away. Now, before you beat me over the head with my own argument, I must concede that there are many factors that play into the overall health of an individual.

    So, I don’t bandy the term ‘Abuse’ around lightly. I think that there are moments in life, where you must call it what it is. In this case, by virtue of committing a non-consensual act on a child, that ultimately could be deleterious to both short-term and possibly long term health, you have committed abuse against said child!



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