Porterdale city councilman wants no smoking in cars with kids

6:44 PM, Jul 11, 2013   |    comments
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  • Porterdale City Councilman Mike Harper (courtesy Newton Citizen)
  • Tant family children of Porterdale
  • Porterdale Police Department
  • Downtown Porterdale

PORTERDALE, GA - Newton County mother Hannah Tant doesn't want anyone smoking around her 5-year-old son and infant daughter, especially in a car.

"You should stop smoking in the car. I don't like it; I don't smoke. I don't like any smoke around my babies," she told 11 Alive News on Thursday.

She's not alone in the small city of Porterdale.

Like most communities, the historic mill town already bans smoking in public and many private buildings, with butts confined outside.

But now a city councilman wants to make it illegal for people to smoke in their cars if they have children with them.

Mike Harper, who's already tried to ban saggy pants and pit bull dogs, was unavailable for an interview Thursday thanks to surgery.

But he's having a hard time finding supporters for his proposed ordinance.

Porterdale Mayor Arline Chapman declined a TV interview, but told 11 Alive she thinks it's basically a "non issue" since no other council members have gone along with Harper's idea.

Seventh grader Blake Silvey thinks a ban would be a good idea.

"I took a health class in school and we were talking about second hand smoke and you could get second hand smoke if somebody smokes in a car with kids," he said.

No one we talked with in Porterdale likes smoking around children, but most think a law would be going too far.

"I don't think that's fair; I think that should be each individual's own opinion as to what they want to do," said Debbie Jackson.

"I think the government should let 'em make up their own mind," said Willie Brantley.

"If they made a law, they'd break it and if you didn't, they're still going to do it, so I don't guess it really matters one way or another," said Mary Tant.

Porterdale's mayor said the biggest concern among city leaders is how to enforce such a ban.

Instead, the city is planning to send out public service flyers in water bills warning about the dangers of second hand smoke.

Since 2006 at least 6 states, Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Maine, Oregon and Utah, as well as several communities, have passed laws banning smoking in a car with children.

What do you think about this issue?

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