I am struck by a story my colleagues are preparing for Nightly News this weekend that's also in today's New York Times concerning the city of Bangor, Maine. The city council there has made news by banning smoking in cars when children are present, effective immediately. Bangor is the first city to do this, but Arkansas, Louisiana and Puerto Rico have taken similar action, and several other states are considering it.
You don' t have to be a parent (I am one) to realize how much sense this makes in terms of protecting our children from the dangers of second-hand smoke. There are, of course, those who are protesting the Bangor ordinance as an invasion of privacy rights and who say the science doesn't support imposing such bans. It's part of a new front in the battle to restrict smoking, not just in public places, but increasingly, in the private realm.
Second-hand smoke concerns me greatly, and it is hard to avoid it. I regularly bob and weave my way through the streets of New York to avoid walking into someone' s smoke trail and often hold my breath when entering and leaving our office building here at 30 Rock so I don't have to breathe in from the cloud left by smokers on their breaks outside the revolving doors.
But it's the kids I worry most about, and it will be interesting so see whether other cities and states will now follow Bangor's lead and at least try to offer some level of protection for our most precious cargo, both on the road and off.