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Carcinogens in cars not for kids

I posted just a few days ago on the possibility of banning cigarette smoking in cars where children are present. It happened today in South Australia – a bill was introduced to fine those who smoke in cars with children.

Supporters of the bill claim smoking in a car is 20X as dangerous as smoking in a house and that an hour’s time spent sitting in a smoke-filled car is equivalent to smoking 3 cigarettes.

These fines are a sound policy move. Market-based approaches to dealing with such external costs are impractical in this situation and protecting children from carcinogens and asthma-causing tars is as sensible as protecting them from harm generally. Adults might come to appreciate the spillover effects of smoking on children and change their behavior elsewhere as well – particularly if this is boosted by a ‘moral suasion’ campaign which emphasises the particular dangers of passive smoking for young children.

4 comments to Carcinogens in cars not for kids

  • Sam Ward

    “Market-based approaches to dealing with such external costs are impractical in this situation”

    Lol! You’ve never seen a market you thought was effective in your life.

    And I didn’t realise you were an Asthma expert Harry. Perhaps you should send your “Smoking Causes Asthma” theory to the Asthma foundation, as they STILL don’t know what causes Asthma.

    And I’d love to know how your lungs know that you are going to start smoking in 20 years time so that they know to make you asthmatic from birth. Perhaps lungs are psychic?

    I’m so glad that asthmatics like myself have people like you in our corner, willing to ban anything and everything in order to make us better.

  • hc

    Sam, Are you seriously suggesting smoking improves lung function? See:

    (references 6-11).


    I am not an asthma expert though I suffer from it occasionally. I have had two close relatives die from emphysema. Yep – not very scientific – but both were smokers.

    There are no markets for allocating resources within families – smoke is a common property bad. You can’t price it away.

    Many markets work with negligible imperfections.


  • Anonymous

    Someone around by where i live should tell mothers the dangers of smoking in their cars with the windows closed with their kids in the car. Every day i see mothers smoking on the school run. All windows closed and mother smoking. Why does this happen in 2007 knowing the dangers. I saw to day a mother parked by the shops in her car with windows closed and a small baby sat beside her, her car had clouds of smoke all in side. I came out the shops 10mins later and she was smoking again, still no windows open. Surly something can be done to stop this happening.

  • Roger E

    For some time now, proposals were being made to impose ban on smoking in cars with kids. In the countries like the US and the UK where smoking is nothing less than epidemics, these proposals were taken and even bills were passed to the effect. Now, even in Australia where smoking is not that rampant, similar laws have been passed where one can’t drive and smoke with kids. The laws would come into effect from the 1st of September 2008.

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