Parents all want what's best for the health of their kids, right? So it shouldn't be a surprise that smoking a cigarette while driving around with your kids in the car is a no-no—seems like common sense.
However, when the traffic safety unit at the Virginia Beach Police Department tweeted about how they issue a $100 ticket for doing just that, people on Twitter were... angry about it? Don't worry, we're confused too. For some background, the U.S. doesn't have a federal law regarding a ban of smoking in a car with kids present, so it's up to the individual states to decide (Canada is the same federally, but most provinces do ban it).
According to a local news site, the law in Virginia has been in effect for almost two years—since July 1, 2016—and the VBPD has only issued about 20 of these tickets since then. Here's the original tweet from the VBPD, showing one of these tickets:
And here are some of the weirdly angry responses that people left on the thread:
Good to know this, NOW I know which State to NEVER visit!!!— Caroline Barlow (@CarolineBarlow) May 14, 2018
I don't smoke but glad I don't live in Virginia Beach— Michael Hay (@drhay2020) May 14, 2018
Glad I don't live there...I'll keep my freedoms and fight for anyone else's even if I don't like what others are doing— JHSD (@samora_jennifer) May 16, 2018
i’ll never go to Virginia again. The land of the free? i don’t think so— klinzyk (@klinzyk) May 17, 2018
um..ya..and I thought California was strick...stupid stupid law— JJ Horgan (@elektrik2001) May 16, 2018
Now it's important to mention that the law in Virginia cites a minor (in this situation) as a person who is eight years old or younger. WHAT?! That's already half the age most Canadian provincial bans cite, and these people are still angry about it?
Also, the law in Virginia states that it's a secondary offence, so drivers can't be pulled over by police just for smoking with a kid in the car. Instead they can only be ticketed after having been pulled over for a traffic violation first.
Many of the angry people above are worried about the policing of parents in private spaces (which your car technically counts as), but when it comes to secondhand smoke, the damage it can do to kid's health is hard to argue with—although some people definitely tried as seen in the response below:
There is actually no proof that secondhand smoke is dangerous. The “numbers” are all inference. It is an agenda pushed on us. By the CDC.— NotGiveForGoodReasons (@not_given_aka) May 15, 2018
Again, WHAT?! How can this user dispute the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's numbers regarding secondhand smoke? According to the CDC website, about 2.5 million nonsmokers have died due to health issues caused by secondhand smoke since 1964. That's a lot of people. Health Canada also warns of the dangers, saying that kids are especially at risk since their lungs are still growing. Their website also notes that even with your windows rolled down, smoking in the car puts passengers at risk.
So ticket on, VBPD. People may not like it, but the work you're doing is good for kids everywhere, who don't have a say in their exposure to the toxins in cigarette smoke.
And this may be opening another can of worms, but while we're here, can we just saying that throwing cigarette butts on the ground is totally gross and unacceptable? People should stop that. Thanks!