Photo by Sara Louise Kinsell

While I am the founder of Less Cancer, I’m not a believer that it is possible to legislate good health. What I do know is that with smart policies we can protect those that cannot protect themselves-especially children.

One example is the legislation coming in Ohio, Senate Bill 78, which is proposing a ban on smoking in vehicles when children ages six and younger are passengers.

The measure sponsored by state Sen. Tina Maharath, D-Canal Winchester, calls for a $500 fine for first-time violators of the law and a fine of $500 plus $250 for each additional citation.

Preventable exposures to cancer risks such as secondhand smoke are lifesaving. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that exposure to secondhand smoke from burning tobacco products causes disease and premature death among nonsmokers. They also share on their website that “Secondhand smoke exposure contributes to approximately 41,000 deaths among nonsmoking adults and 400 deaths in infants each year. Secondhand smoke causes stroke, lung cancer, and coronary heart disease in adults. Children who are exposed to secondhand smoke are at increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome, acute respiratory infections, middle ear disease, more severe asthma, respiratory symptoms, and slowed lung growth.” Studies have shown that smoke-free laws that prohibit smoking in public places have immediate results such as the reductions in hospital admissions for heart attacks.

Secondhand smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, including hundreds that are toxic and about 70 that can cause cancer.

The American Cancer Society reports that “Americans spend a great deal of time in cars, and if someone smokes there, the toxins can build up quickly — even when the windows are open, or the air-conditioner is on. Again, this can be especially harmful to children.”

As I have said time and time again, simply put, children are under construction. They are unfinished and their developing systems are quite fragile. As a part of the that children also breathe much more rapidly, so they take in more toxins through their lungs.

There is no safe level of second-hand smoke, at the very least we should be able to protect our children.

Yes! Absolutely — smoking in cars with children should be banned.

Protecting Those That Cannot Protect Themselves was originally published in Less Cancer Journal on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.