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Letter: State should ban smoking when children are in car

State should ban smoking when children are in car

Would you light up a cigarette, take a drag and exhale the smoke straight into your child’s face? You may say no, but some people drive around in unventilated vehicles lighting up a “smoke,” filling this small space with poison for their children to inhale. This is a form of child abuse. No one deserves to inhale secondhand smoke. It should be illegal to smoke with children in your car.

Thousands of chemical substances are found in cigarette smoke, many of which are devastating to our health. Children are still developing physically; they breathe at a higher rate than adults, which increases their exposure to these chemicals. Secondhand smoke causes respiratory problems. The upper respiratory tract is chronically irritated and significantly reduces lung function. Breathlessness, wheezing, coughing and phlegm are not unusual side effects. Children suffer from chronic bronchitis, pneumonia and asthma.

Bans should be passed in New York State in order to protect our children and give them a fighting chance. States such as Arkansas and Louisiana ban smoking in cars with children. Today, steps are being taken to protect New York citizens from secondhand smoke. Erie Community College and Niagara County Community College are now smoke-free campuses. Why not make a tobacco-free driving law? Make our children’s health a priority.

Angela Heitzenrater