Dalton’s Ontario


For crying out loud:

PORT HOPE — A Port Hope man is the second person in Ontario charged under a new law that prohibits smoking in vehicles carrying children. And while the 20-year-old man was waiting to be issued his ticket after being pulled over yesterday, his 15-year-old female passenger got out of the vehicle and lit up a cigarette.

Port Hope Police Const. Tammie Hartford said she could only watch in frustration as the 15-year-old smoked. “She was the reason why I pulled the vehicle over,” she said. “She was under the age (of 16).”

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Dalton’s Ontario

  1. Hey, Andrew, think of the benefits of this. At least this young lady was required to benefit from fresh air in which to smoke.

    But it begs the question: how is the law worded? What would have happened had the 20-year-old driver not been smoking but the 15-year-old herself had been? Is the driver at fault for operating a moving vehicle in this circumstance, or is the “child” at fault for smoking in a car in which a child is confined?

    At least it is a relief that our society doesn’t have real honest-to-goodness problems that require our police officers’ attentions.

    • Good point. At least the Ontario economy is ticking along fine, otherwise this sort of nonsense might really get people angry.

      • What does the state of the economy have to do with taking the poisoning of children seriously?

        • I am sorry, Robert. I missed the part of the story where the 15-year-old female passenger dropped dead from (or maybe just ended up in intensive care for) poisoning. I must therefore remove my mockery of this enlightened piece of legislation. Thank you for allowing me this opportunity to take this crisis seriously.

          • Do you really believe that someone can only be poisoned if death or near death occurs. I think you’ll find that the courts disagree with you if you do.

          • I see. So you mean the marginal increase in lifetime risk associated with second hand smoking deserves to be outlawed in motor vehicles. Alrighty then. If we want to talk about marginal increases in lifetime risk of harm…

            …let’s outlaw children eating salt-rich high-fat fast food in moving vehicles.

            …let’s outlaw driving your teen to visit his or her romantic partner, for they might during this encounter have unprotected sex.

            …let’s outlaw driving a teen to the principal’s office to fill out the high school dropout declaration, for they will likely be condemned to a lifetime of poverty and a poor sense of self-worth.

            …let’s outlaw the transportation of a child to any sporting event, for the dear blessed angel may suffer an injury.

            …let’s outlaw any adult using foul or intemperate or demeaning language in front of impressionable children in a moving vehicle.

            …let’s outlaw the sharing of any adult’s religious beliefs in a moving vehicle with young passengers, for it may prevent these tykes from making up their own minds about the world around them and their place in it.

            …actually, given the statistics, let’s outlaw children as passengers in a moving vehicle, for there might be an accident.

            Or, maybe, just maybe, we can leave the bringing up of our nation’s children to their parents.

      • So true! Why aren’t the Port Hope Police out policing this unprecedented global economic crisis? They were probably too busy stopping people from smoking in cars to prevent the Lehman Brothers collapse!

        I kid, of course, and I’m generally agitated by Premier Dad’s penchant for nanny-statism, in this case and in others. But I’m having difficulty understanding how otherwise dispensing with the Government of Ontario, let alone the formidable Port Hope PD, would have somehow shielded all of Ontario from economic distress.

        • Perhaps it might help restore a sense of optimism? Isn’t that what all these bailouts boil down to — reassuring the credit market that there is a God?

  2. Thanks, Premier Dad.

  3. What’s with the anti-Swiss hysteria around here?

    • LOL. “Anti-swiss hysteria” is quite an oxymoron. I would have bet money that you were the first person ever to use that phrase on the internet. Turns out you’re the second.

  4. Is it this law that’s ridiculous, or the fact we don’t have laws preventing children from smoking?

    • But what can you do? Jails and criminal records are pretty harsh for a teenager just for smoking, and they might not universally have the $ to pay fines. When you think about it, it makes more sense to go after the adults facilitating the smoking.

      • I’m not proposing jail time and a criminal record, as that’s ridiculous. But the police can fine you for underage drinking, so why can’t the same be done for children smoking cigarettes?

        If we’re serious about protecting children from the harms of smoking, then we need to close this loophole.

        • Wouldn’t that just teach kids that flouting the law is an ordinary thing to do? I’m against the criminalisation of soft drugs for that reason too, even in the case of harmful drugs like nicotine.

          • I think it would be pretty easy to just make it illegal, and the only real punishment being that the police take their damn cigarettes.

  5. Good thing neither of them had any cherry-flavoured tabaccy or it may have made our PM put on his hair-suit again…

  6. C’mon Canadians! Just take a look at the UK and see what turning yr country into a nanny state will get you. The intention’s good, but you invariably just end up infantilizing yr population. And the price of all this state nannyism? In the UKs case it’s a camera on every street corner. Ironically the extra supervision hasn’t had the desired effect at all!

    • Though it’s been great for indy bands making music videos. Did you see this one?

      • That was great Jack. Good grief i don’t recognize the country i grew up in. Is this the culture that produced Shakespeare and Magna Carta? It’s a surrealistic nightmare – through my eyes anyway – the UK could be a foretaste of a the long overdue decline of Western society. Orwell was right but he got the causation wrong; too much state love, rather then too little.

        • I’ve never lived in the UK so I have no view, but I couldn’t agree more that it seems so different from the image of Scotland and England I get when I hear those names. In “The Lion and the Unicorn,” his book about the English soul, Orwell praises the English precisely for the fact that they would never, he thought, even understand what police surveillance involved. It’s just so strange that they should have happily implemented the tightest police surveillance since East Germany. Doesn’t add up, somehow.

          • Yeah, it should be a warning to us all. If it can happen there it could happen in smug ole Canada. If my memory serves me Orwel also said that the chief defining characteristic of the British Empire was stupidity.
            God that man was awesome! I must reread some of his essays. One of my favs was his take on why Tolstoy had such a low opinion of Shakespeare – brilliant!

          • That’s really a great one — one of his broadcasts to India, right? Another in the same series was a short essay on the meaning of Gerard Manley Hopkins’ poem “Felix Randal,” which more than any other piece put me onto poetry. There’s an Everyman hardcover collection of all his essays which is a bit steep at $35 but really worth it since it includes the short “As I Please” essays of the 1940’s.

          • JM
            Orwell more than any other writer turned me on to politics by arguing, but not completely convincing me, that everything worthwhile that’s written must have a political purpose. Previously for me fiction was merely a form of escape. I still feel that way at times, largely because another of m favourite writers did feel that everything lead to a ways of escape! I’m talking about G.Greene of course.

    • kc – sometimes you need a good genital cuff!
      We protect our adult freedoms from the nanny state and our children from adults with poor judgement.

  7. And how exactly did this police officer know that the female passenger was under the age of 16 before she pulled the car over?

  8. Well, having grown up in an era when the effects of secondhand smoke were not understood, I do recall dear old Dad having us close all the windows so that he could put on the a/c, then lighting up a cigarette. Breathing was difficult for me as I was slightly allergic, I presume. As a “captive audience” I would have welcomed this law “for crying out loud” did not help.

    • Careful Dot, don’t show any sign of good sense with this crowd. As a former smoker I am not self-rightious enough to tell other adults not to smoke, but I draw the line at exposing children to fumes. Who knows how much or how little exposure is needed to cause heath effects.

      • Isn’t that being a wee bit paranoid? One of my parents smoked until I was 6 (not in the car, as I recall) and I’m fit as a fiddle . . . or I would be if I didn’t smoke. (Took it up in my 20’s — kids, don’t smoke.)

        Not in a million years would I smoke in the car with the windows rolled up, even if I were alone. When I had a car, I barely smoked while driving, except on long trips. Neither would I fart in the car, or sing along to a 50 Cent song, or frankly do much but drive. Seems to me no one should breathe smoke onto other people; but it doesn’t necessarily follow that we need to pass laws against it. Kids are not falling ill with emphysema. This law is not about protecting children, it’s about abetting the middle class’s denial of death.

        • In your twenties??!!??? Man! Most people fall in that trap in their teens! How did someone lucky enough to steer clear of nicotine addiction later choose to surrender that freedom as an adult?

          • Pure willpower. It was actually quite difficult and took about a month to get addicted. I had to fight intense peer pressure — not least from smoker friends — and, to be sure, my uneasiness about the appalling long-term consequences. I am, however, going to quit this year, as it will be 9 years now and I’m rather sick of being a non-athlete.

          • Good luck to you with that.

          • Thanks. Actually you’ll know I’ve entered the three-day Twilight Zone when my spelling becomes erratic, my opinions unhinged, and my nick changes to “kody.”

          • Ladies and gentlemen, here is today’s progressive, tolerant nicotine addict.

        • Hey cool! My mom smoked the entire time I was at home, and I’m not dead either!

          Probably sucks to my ass-mar though…

        • I too took up smoking at the ripe old age of 28. One of my freinds called me a “a complete statistical anomally”. And “an idiot.” It’s been 7 years now and I’m just not tired of it enough yet to quit.

  9. Yes, let’s gas our children in confined areas. Indeed, why not reintroduce smoking in schools, hospitals (especially the obstetrics ward!) and other government facilities. We must defeat the scourge of the nanny state lest we have lower smoking rates!

    Sorry folks. I agreed that the new young driver regulations were absurd, and not driven by evidence. This is different. There is a preponderance of evidence suggesting that second-hand smoke is indeed harmful, and particularly so to children.

    • Shouldn’t we be consentrating our efforts on the tobacco companies. Aren’t they targeting young people?I’m sorry but the downside of allowing even the most well-meaning of regulators into every facet of our lifes is too great. Where will it end? What next? I’ll support any amount of public education, but somewhere personal rspnsibility has got to kick in.



  11. All this, and yet there are no laws against drinking yourself into a stupor while you are pregnant.

    • It’s people like you what cause unrest.

  12. If governments are so worries about people’s health, they should ban tobacco entirely. Since they get billions of $$$ in tax revenue, they won’t actually ban anything, so governments like to make it appear they are doing something to ‘protect’ us while they expand their coffers.

    The smoking in car law is pure window dressing because any child in car with smokers is likely to be around second hand smoke at home as well. So the law says second hand smoke is acceptable at home but not in a car. Where’s the sense in that?

    This article points out the absurdity of the law. I love that the fifteen year old got out for a smoke while the driver was being ticketed and there was nothing to be done about it.

    • A tobacco ban would be a joke. It would just move a multi-billion dollar industry into the hands of organized crime.

      • I agree. But I don’t understand how/why governments continue to profit from something that is so clearly bad for our health. If it was anything else, the product would have been banned long ago because of how much damage it causes.

        I don’t mind that people smoke, and I don’t want governments banning tobacco, but what they are doing now is moronic. Every few years, a level government comes out with some new initiative on smoking but they are only whittling at the edges and not doing anything particularly useful. I wish governments would ban tobacco outright or leave smokers alone.

  13. I am a smoker. When my children were younger, I did smoke in the car with them, but then I also smoked in a family restaurant.

    Now, I don’t smoke in the car if there is a non-smoker in the car. Of any age. It sucks and I hate going on long trips because of it–I’d much rather go by myself. I would be surprised if most smokers didn’t do this these days. Yes, I can see some kind of ‘but my own kids don’t count’ exemption unconsciously happening (I think if someone thinks about it, that would be different. It’s when we don’t think that there could be a problem).

    I would mind very much if this guy fights the ticket and loses. But I don’t mind the law although I also think its unnecessary. Public opinion will get this ‘rule’ across on its own, without a law, I think.

  14. I don’t know if the officer can be formally disciplined, but she should certainly be spoken too. It seems likely that she knew the teenager. In any case, laws such as this one always have to have limits (in this case an age limit). Enforcing this law for someone months away from their 16th birthday, is like handing out speeding tickets for 5 km/hr over the limit. Technically justified perhaps, but ultimately counterproductive.

  15. Lotsa smokers on these blogs ( me too – pipe ).

    We need a Potter essay on the meaning of it all.

  16. Additional information: The town of Truro ( the now famous Bible Hill is a kinda suburb ) has banned smoking in a walking/shopping district of its’ downtown. The people who live in apartments in the area
    ( apartments where smoking is banned ) now have to walk several blocks to have a puff.

    The town of Kentville is considering a proposal to ban smoking in public parks and recreational areas.

    The town of Bridgewater is considering a proposal to ban smoking in all public areas.

    The wildlife park in Shubanacadie is building a caged area to confine all remaining smokers. They will conduct public tours for school children and provide ( for a small charge ) peanuts to throw at the inmates.

    One – but only one – of the above is untrue. So far.

    A little authority in the hands of small-minded people.

  17. It always seemed to me that governments are going about the suppression of smoking in too indirect a fashion. No, I’m not advocating execution of anyone caught smoking. I’m advocating the limiting of smoking to those already addicted. Instead of forbidding the sale of tobacco products in pharmacies, I propose that only pharmacies be allowed to sell cigarettes, and only to those who are registered as tobacco addicts.

    Every purchase would be entered into a central database (let’s not let the gun registry people set this one up), and the purchaser’s health insurance and home insurance costs (increased fire danger) would be adjusted proportionately to usage.

    We may want to extend this market approach to sales of high-transfat, high sodium foods.

    After all, people pay more for car insurance based on horsepower and accident records. The precedent is there.

    • Logician, smokers save you money by smoking. They should get a discount on their taxes — whoops, they already pay $7 a pack in subsidising you.

      But perhaps you were joking.

    • As long as you don’t use the one-sided ‘cost of smoking’ studies that have been published thus far. I mean the ones that don’t include any OAS or CPP payment savings, the massive heart attack causing death that includes some health care costs, but not nearly as much as continued living would entail as a non-smoker, or savings on ward of the state retirement/nursing home stays.

      And you’d have to account for the tax on cigarettes as well, of course.

      Private health insurance already factors in the cost of smoking, so I hope you weren’t expecting this plan to lower the debt or anything.

      But as a plan to eventually end smoking, its not bad.

  18. I have a question! Why do we constantly deal with every substance known that is unhealthy for us and never get around to the real killer in society? That’s right folks there is another substance that causes universal suffering, kills far more effectively, wrecks homes that it enters to an extent that boggles the mind and yet is not only acceptable but promoted as if taken in moderate dosages (to which is ridiculous as there is no such thing) as being social … The purpose of this substance is to deliberately impair your judgement. This substance is also used in our automobiles to prevent freezing and this substance is so toxic that it kills our pets if they lick a few drops that drip from our cars. This substance is also used as paint remover and costs society so much that it’s affects when monitored dwarf any and all other abused substances to a degree that boggles the mind. Alcohol – think about it.

    • Come on, Wayne. You know the answer to this. Drinkers are more of the population than smokers. It’s not that the thing is bad, it’s that the thing is bad AND AFFECTS A MINORITY. The same with high-fat food.

  19. It’s kind of odd how the more the government takes over the role of being everyone’s nanny, the more fat, unhealthy, irresponsible and stupid people become.

    Ironic … but not very surprising.

    “Instead of forbidding the sale of tobacco products in pharmacies, I propose that only pharmacies be allowed to sell cigarettes, and only to those who are registered as tobacco addicts.”

    It’s also funny (in a funny-ha-ha way) how whenever some small but outrageous new step is taken in the expansion of the police state, people come forward and start chirping happily about how the real trouble is, the government isn’t being nearly draconian enough.

    I look forward to the successful implementation of the tobacco addict registry being followed by an alcoholic registry, a caffeine addict registry, a junk food addict registry, an internet addict registry, a trashy novel and comic book reading addict registry, a cell phone and texting addict registry, and so on. If society is to progress, the wise and benevolent elites must never cease to monitor and control the stupid and ignorant sheep it is their duty to protect.

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