When you think back to what life was like when we were kids, some of the stuff we did or were exposed to is kind of amazing. And not in a good way! Sure, we probably had a bit more freedom, we spent more time outdoors, and we experienced the joy of waking up early on Saturday morning to watch cartoons. But laws and regulations back then were quite a bit looser, to say the least. And more things were considered socially acceptable.
Take smoking, for instance. Before the push to expose the dangers of smoking, the practice was widely accepted and even encouraged by advertisers. People smoked everywhere - in restaurants, stores, even airplanes. If you grew up in a household with one or both parents who were smokers, then they very likely smoked around you at home, or maybe even with you in the car. Then we started to learn about the dangers of secondhand smoke; pretty soon, it was illegal to smoke in public places all over the country. Which is a good thing!
However, people are still allowed to smoke in their homes, regardless of who's around. And shockingly, it's still not universally illegal to smoke with a child in the car. But times, they are a-changing, and a new bill in Indiana aims to make it the latest state to levy steep fines against adults who smoke cigarettes with children in the car.
Several states have laws on the books that impose fines and/or penalties against adults who smoke cigarettes in cars where children are present. Those states are Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Maine, Oregon, Utah, Vermont and Virginia. And Indiana is trying to add themselves to that list. Senators from Indiana have introduced legislation aimed at discouraging adults from smoking with kids in the car. First-time violators would be hit with a $1,000 fine. A second offense also comes with a $1,000 price tag. But if they were caught a third time, that fine jumps up to a whopping $10,000.
The legislation still has to pass through the House, and Senator Jim Merritt (who sponsored the bill) acknowledged that getting it passed could be difficult. It would also be difficult to enforce. But hopefully, just knowing that such a law exists would discourage parents and adults from smoking with kids in the car.