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No Smoking…In Your Own Car

Posted: September 1, 2016 at 11:00 am   /   by
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Image Source: Patrick Feller/Flickr; License: CC BY 2.0 

Soon, they’ll be coming for your cigarettes.

In your car.

See Sandra Bland.

Or, the study released by the CDC that characterizes “second-hand smoke” as the latest threat to “safety” and (of course) “the children.” It urges what you’d expect: That it be made illegal to smoke in your own car, at least, if “the children” are present.

Possibly even if they’re not.

See Sandra Bland.

Or Daniel McIsaac.

Both were ordered by armed government workers – law enforcers – to put out their cigarettes while sitting in their own cars during a traffic stop. Maybe for “officer safety” (second hand smoke being a “threat”) but probably just to clarify who’s boss.

In the above notorious instances, what the armed government workers did wasn’t legal.

Not that it mattered.

But soon, it may matter even less.

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Image Source: Tim1965 (Own work)/Wikimedia Commons License: CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL

Whenever you hear a government organ eruct about “safety” and mention “the children” in the same eructation, you ought to (by now) know what’s coming.

“There is no risk-free level of exposure to second-hand smoke,” the CDC study states.

Really? No risk-free level of exposure?

None at all?

The merest whiff?

Is the CDC going to claim that – just off the top of my head –  a 17-year-old (legally, a “child”) who buys a used car that was smoked in previously is exposing himself to a measurable danger thereby? If he accepts a ride in an adult’s car – the adult having smoked a cigarette a few hours previously – have the kid’s chances of becoming emphysematic or developing lung cancer increased intolerably or even measurably?

Yes, exactly.

And then some.

General Zod was sent to the Phantom Zone for actual crimes. We are being criminalized for phantom crimes. Hypothesized (and ever-attenuated) “risk” – but no actual harm caused.  As in the VW Situation, where an entire line of cars was criminalized for … what was it, exactly? Emitting “up to 40 times” more NOx emissions. This sounds very ominous but when you look into it amounts to a fraction of a percent uptick per car and well within the exhaust emissions standards for cars made circa 2000. Which as far as can be ascertained haven’t killed anyone via their exhaust byproducts.

Or even given them a rash.

 Stalin’s secret police chief Lavrenty Beria said, “Show me the man, and I’ll show you the crime.”

This isn’t a defense of smoking.

It’s a plea for the restoration of sanity.

Notice the quasi-religious aspect, too.

You can almost hear the high-pitched sermonizing of these latter-day Elmer Gantrys:

“The car is the only source of exposure for some of these children,” says the CDC’s Brian King. “So if you can reduce the exposure, it’s definitely advantageous for health.”

As with the jihad against alcohol – which metastasized from reasonable concern over cavalier attitudes toward drinking and driving into the hysterical (literally) characterization of any drinking before driving as “drunk” driving – smoking cigarettes anywhere, anytime, is becoming the object of a puritanical jihad.

It is very interesting to note here the parallels between what’s going in America and what went on 70-something years ago in Germany – where health Nazis were just as over-the-top as the regular Nazis.

Der Fuhrer didn’t like smokers, either.

As in the Reichskanzlei, It is no longer enough that smokers refrain from smoking in public areas. If there is any chance whatever that a non-smoker might catch a whiff, then it becomes a matter of public concern. Smokers are already frequently prohibited from smoking even in their own apartments or condos because someone might be exposed to “second-hand smoke.”

It is likely you will be forbidden to smoke in your own vehicle for the same reasons. Doesn’t matter that you have the windows rolled up – and don’t have kids. What about the poor attendant at the parking garage who might be exposed to the dangerous remnants of your anti-social choice to smoke?

Or the child who might buy your ex-car three years from now?

There is no way to objectively tell whether a car was smoked in last week – or last year. Or five minutes ago. Hence, it is likely that any evidence of smoking – ever – will presently become the next excuse to harass and collect. For armed government workers to pull people over, man “checkpoints” and hand out tickets. 

If I’d written this rant twenty years ago, everyone reading it today would call me crazy. But today, it’s America that’s gone crazy.

Criminalizing adults for “exposing” a kid to a distant whiff of this morning’s Lucky Strike … or last year’s Lucy Strike.

The erosion of our personal space continues. Wait until Obamacare really kicks in. It will not end until we have no personal space left – because in the minds of the authoritarian collectivists (the Clovers) who control this country, there is no such thing as “personal” space.

As they see it, anything you do that might affect someone else – a hypothetical someone else – is ample justification to control/restrict/forbid/punish what you do.

Mandatory calisthenics in front of the TeleScreen can’t be too far down the road… .

It’s important to recognize that the jihad against smoking is not really about the “risk” of “second-hand” smoke. Just as the jihad against having even trace amounts of alcohol in one’s blood is not really about “drunk” driving.

It’s about the imposition of a Cloverific puritanism that seeks absolute control, using as the pretext for this the elimination of all risk, no matter how remote – and no matter the cost to our liberty. As Kyle Reese explained to Sarah Connor in the first Terminator movie, “…they can’t be reasoned with or bargained with and absolutely will not stop, ever.”

Unless, of course, we finally stand up and tell them we have had enough.

Image Source: mike1497/Pixabay
License: CC0 Public Domain

Eric Peters

Eric Peters

Eric Peters writes about cars, mobility and liberty.

He has been covering these topics for 25-plus years as a columnist and author, including several years as an editorial writer/columnist for The Washington Times and contributor to newspapers and magazines around the country, including the Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, Detroit News and Free Press, American Spectator and many others.

His books include Automotive Atrocities and Road Hogs. His latest book, Doomed, will be available next spring.

Eric lives in rural SW Virginia - as far as he could get from Northern Virginia without actually leaving the state.
Eric Peters

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No Smoking...In Your Own Car