Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Should Teens be Fined for Smoking?

Eric Zorn, syndicated columnist at the Chicago Tribune, likes the PUP laws (laws that ban the "purchase, use and possession" of tobacco by minors) that fine teens for smoking. And he has supporters:
That makes sense, said John Banzhaf, executive director of Washington-based Action on Smoking and Health. PUP laws "serve to draw parents into the situation" and give children an additional reason to resist peer pressure.

"Treating cigarettes like we do alcohol would go a long way" toward discouraging teen smoking, Banzhaf said. And if you stop a teen from smoking, he said, the odds are overwhelming that he'll never be a smoker.
While I admire his bravery, I beg to differ.

Why do the police and I have to be drawn "into the situation?" Isn't there enough of a power struggle regarding separation going on already in adolescence?

Not only do police have bigger fish to fry, the very people who like such a laws inforced on teens all-too-often will be the same people who pay their own teens' tobacco possesion fines for them.



Anonymous said...

I agree with Wes, leave it alone. Teens can't buy tobacco, why should they be fined if they use it? Parents are usually the ones who pay the price whether it's taking time off work to get their children from the police station or taking them to court or as you would want it paying their tobacco fines. The police should learn to be more accquainted with teens and not known for harassing them with more do and don'ts. The police have enough to do with protecting our cities from crime.

Let people learn from their own mistakes not EVERYONE needs to be controlled by some "do gooder".


A mom with non-smoking adult children

Toni Brayer, MD said...

Forget fining teens. The bigger impact would come from assigning an "R" rating to any movie that shows smoking. Hollywood glamourizes cigarettes by having major stars light up, even when there is no point in the script. There must be a payola for product placement going on but we should make it costly for them to show stars smoking.