The Corner

Now That’s an Externality

A police chief in Nebraska is instructing his officers to arrest parents for child abuse if they smoke in cars with children present, using the Surgeon General’s report on second-hand smoke as justification. My colleague Brooke Oberwetter comments:

I’m afraid to ask whether or not smoking in your own home when children are present is next on the list of insidious child abuses to stamp out in North Platte, because with cops like Gutschenritter in charge, it almost certainly is. 

Let it sink in: Smoking as probable cause for arrest on child abuse charges. Smoking as probable cause for warrantless entry into your home. Smoking as probable cause to separate you from your child for up to a year. Smoking as probable cause to put you in handcuffs and take you away in front of your children.

If you want an example of a negative externality of an anti-smoking program, there’s a doozy for you.

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