New Gain for Anti-smoking Movement: No Puffs in Your Own Car

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Some hospitals have banned smoking inside a person's own vehicle if it's on hospital property, a step viewed as logical by the anti-smoking movement but repugnant to its critics.

George Koodray, New Jersey coordinator for the Citizens Freedom Alliance, says many see this as the beginning -- and easiest part -- of a growing encroachment of government into people's private lives.

While a handful of states ban smoking in cars if there are minors inside, the move by hospitals to prohibit any puffs behind the wheel represents new territory for those seeking a smoke-free environment.

The ban is part of the more widely recognized effort by hospitals to prohibit lighting up inside or outside the building, out of public health concerns. The American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation in Berkeley, Calif., counts more than 1,200 with campuswide bans.

No exact count is kept on which hospitals extend the ban to inside a car or truck, but an Associated Press check of hospitals in Alabama and elsewhere found that a number do.

At Mizell Memorial in Opp in south Alabama, smokers in cars get a gentle reminder. Spokeswoman Renee LeMaire says if they have their door open or smoke is seen coming out of a window, officials approach and remind them of the smoking ban.

Sean Johnson, who handles security at Helen Keller Hospital in Florence, says he doesn't hunt for people smoking in cars, but approaches the vehicle if he sees someone or receives a report of a
person lighting up in their car.

He says he treats the smokers as he would want to be treated while warning them of the hospital's smoking policy.

Rick Wade, senior vice president of the American Hospital Association, says he had not heard of hospitals banning smoking in cars, but he understands why the action was taken.

Roger Swafford of Forces Alabama, a smoker's rights group, says the smoking ban demonstrates the hospital's complete lack of concern for their patients.

Swafford says visitors that are smokers and willing to adhere to
the hospital policy will likely shorten visits. He also says hospitals should have a designated area for visitors and staff members who choose to use a legal product.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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  • by Leah Location: Malvern on May 20, 2008 at 07:02 AM
    Did you know that if you are in a parked car on your own property "drunk" or drinking beer/etc. You can get arrested for a DUI because you are behind the wheel? Does not matter if your just hanging out inside your car either. Call the Police Dept and verify - some of you will. Minors need caring for. Too often their parents are too selfish to do it for them. If you are smoking inside their home, smoking inside the car with the children - then you are placing those chemicals in their bodies! Would you want them inside a meth lab? NO! why? Because the fumes affect the children also. Use your brains --- if you have any left....Cigarette's contain enough chemicals to kill off brain cells in addition to those once healthy lungs.
  • by unknown Location: unknown on May 12, 2008 at 07:37 PM
    If the car is parked on private property, then it is okay for them to ban smoking, you are choosing to be there, you should adhere to their rules.
  • by Anonymous Location: Slocomb on May 12, 2008 at 10:18 AM
    I think when you are outside you can smoke all you want. It's a open area for everyone to enjoy. I don't smoke but my husband does. We have 3 kids and he has never smoke around them. If he is in his car which he pays for not the Goverment he has the right to smoke. We need more free help for people to stop smoking. That will help save money in the long run. This is a free country for everyone....not for the non smoker's only.
  • by Smoker Location: Hartford on May 11, 2008 at 09:02 PM
    I have been a Tax payer all my life I dont ask you for nothing I have Insurance....And I pay for it..You might want to look at other things YOUR TAX DOLLARS IS PAYING FOR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Thank you very much...
  • by incredulous on May 11, 2008 at 11:38 AM
    Not smoking in a car with a minor is a GREAT idea, IMHO. Otherwise, fine, smoke if you want. But, NOT if you're on public assistance, or if you expect me as a taxpayer to foot your medical bills later on in life.
  • by Anonymous on May 11, 2008 at 08:38 AM
    I don't smoke (I quit over 22 years ago) However this is another example of how our rights under the Constitution of The United States of America are being abused by special interest groups. The next thing we will hear is what we can and Cannot do in our own bedrooms! Wake Up America!!
  • by CONNIE Location: Hartford on May 11, 2008 at 08:29 AM
    I think it is time to go fight the people that hurt our childred and the drunks that kill people on the highway. And leave the ones that smoke alone. The way I look at it you all are taking our rights away to smoke which is legal. Maybe we all need to get together and get a lawyer and sue you for trying to take ours rights away from us. Maybe than you will stop. We are not smoking pot or any drugs that are against the law. They sell cigarette in stores. SO THEY MUST BE LEGAL I repect anyone that doesn't smoke and I don't snoke around them. Not even in my own car. So why can't you repect the fact that I do.
  • by A BIG SMOKER AND IT IS MY BUSSINESS NOT YOUR Location: Hartford on May 11, 2008 at 05:48 AM
    I get so tried of the so called smoking law.WHY DONT ALL OF YOU SELF RIGHTOUS PEOPLE GET A REAL JOB AND GET OF THE BACK OF SMOKERS.I will make sure I dont come to none of your HOSPITAL..What about the drinkers..If one come in from a wreak and he is drunk are you going to tell him he cant be there? Most of the time a drunk hurt himself and other and a smoker hurts no one but themself.THIS IS JUST ANOTHER WAY OF YOU SO CALL BIG SHOT THINKING YOU CAN CONTROLL THE PEOPLE.You all got on the weight thing the next thing we know you see a Fat person sitting in their car eating WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO LOCK THEM UP. YOU ALL DISCUSS ME...GET OFF THE SMOKERS BACK..Even my husband says the same thing and he does NOT SMOKE!!!!!!!!!O I know there is some Doctor and Nurses that somke are you going to make them leave???????
  • by Oh Please!!! Location: Hartford on May 10, 2008 at 08:49 PM
    I think this is stupid,, instead of beating the people to death that smoke how about the drinkers!!! i can smoke while driving and not hurt anyone,, people who drink hit and hurt people all the time,., Why dont you all pick your battles and let the little things go,, or is this only things you can win.. if so that do say much for you!!
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