Thursday, March 01, 2007

Child abuse?

We've had a great many discussions regarding swatting & spanking, and whether or not they could/should be considered child abuse. As should be expected, the opinions were all across the board.

Well here's one for you: What about smoking around a child?

In June of last year the U.S. Surgeon General published a report that stated "beyond any doubt that secondhand smoke harms people’s health."

Some highlights from the report:

  • Secondhand smoke exposure causes heart disease and lung cancer in adults and sudden infant death syndrome and respiratory problems in children.

  • There is NO risk-free level of secondhand smoke exposure, with even brief exposure adversely affecting the cardiovascular and respiratory system.

  • Only smoke-free environments effectively protect nonsmokers from secondhand smoke exposure in indoor spaces.

  • While great strides have been made in recent years in reducing nonsmoking Americans’ secondhand smoke exposure, millions of Americans continue to be exposed to secondhand smoke in their homes and workplaces.

Given these facts, shouldn't smoking around a child -- particularly in enclosed environments like a home or a car -- be considered endangerment?

We have laws that mandate putting a child in a car seat, yet we allow people to smoke in a car with them?

When it comes to a swat on the fanny or a slap on the hand, I can see the gray areas. But not with smoking around kids. Once upon a time we could plead ignorant; I grew up riding in cars filled with smoke because people didn't really know any better. But ignorance is no longer a valid excuse. If you smoke around a child, you're endangering that child's health, plain and simple.

That shouldn't be okay.


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