Opposition to S. 78
Opposition to S. 78 has not been clearly outlined due to no opportunity for a hearing (Connelly, 2019). Common organizations that would oppose this bill would include the tobacco industry due to the effect on their financial profits. The Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) (2019) would oppose this bill because they feel smoking bans do not improve individuals health, do not prevent smoking, and the health effects of second hand smoke exposure are not as bad as literature states. Some, not all, individuals who smoke would oppose this bill due to it impeding their freedom to smoke as they wish.
The concept for S. 78 was introduced in 2015 and again in 2017 where it failed both times (The Ohio Legislature, 2019b; The Ohio Legislature, 2019c). S. 78 was first introduced on March 06, 2019, received its first hearing on April, 10, 2019, and currently sits in the hands of the judiciary committee (S. 78, 2019; The Ohio Senate: 133rd General Assembly, 2019a). Should the committee vote in favor of the bill, it will then head to the floor for all members of the Senate to vote upon it (The Ohio Senate: 133rd General Assembly.
2019b). Once that is completed and it passes, the bill will undergo the same process in the House, and then off to the Governor to be signed into a law (The Ohio Senate: 133rd General Assembly, 2019b). This bill is in the initial step of the bill making process so the expected timeframe is unknown. It could take months to years or it could fail and have to be reintroduced. Hopefully, with the support of other senators and organizations such as the America Academy of Pediatrics and the American Lung Association, S. 78 will pass.
Potential Consequences on Providers
Positive and negative consequences that providers may see if S. 78 is enacted, would be exhibited in a variety of ways. A positive short-term consequence on providers would include seeing alleviation in the severity of existing diseases/illnesses which causes for better management. The CDC (2018) states asthma attacks can become critical due to secondhand smoke exposure. It is also noted that the frequency and severity of ear infections can be lessened which can help prevent the need for tympanostomy tubes (CDC, 2018).
A negative short-term and long-term consequence could be that providers would lose the number of patients being seen due to the improvement of the childs overall health. The fewer patients seen equals the less one can bill for, thus lower profit. According to the CDC (2018) secondhand smoke exposure leads to ear infections, respiratory infections, and more frequent and severe asthma attacks in children (p.1). Without secondhand smoke exposure, these events would not be occurring and there would be no need for an office visit.
A positive long-term consequence for providers would be better management of patients health. This better management would lead to fewer antibiotics and the less chance of antibiotic resistance. The World Health Organization (2019) states the overuse of antibiotics is one cause of resistance and decreasing infections is a way to alleviate this problem. Less secondhand smoke exposure leads to fewer infections, fewer antibiotic prescriptions, and less chance of antibiotic resistance. If children are not exposed to secondhand smoke then the incidence of ear infections and respiratory infections would decrease, thus fewer antibiotics being needed. Medernach & Logan (2017) explains how antibiotic resistance is of grave concern in the pediatric population and any methods to alleviate the danger, such as less antibiotic use, should be utilized.
Potential Consequences for Consumers
Positive and negative consequences for consumers should S. 78 pass, are numerous. A positive short-term consequence for consumers includes patients experiencing fewer adverse health issues such as ear infections, asthma issues, and respiratory infections (CDC, 2018). The less a child is exposed to secondhand smoke, the less chance for adverse health issues. This leads to children being healthier and not having to miss school which can cause the parent having to miss work. If the parent misses work then thats less income which can affect the family in many ways.
Another positive short-term for consumers would be insurance companies not having to pay out for office visits due to there being fewer ones. The less exposure to secondhand smoke will hopefully lead to fewer adverse health effects which leads to fewer office visits and prescriptions. This means health insurance companies can allot this money to other health concerns.
A negative short-term and long-term consequence S. 78 has on consumers would be that individuals cannot smoke in a motor vehicle as they wish. This consequence is only negative in the eye of the smoker. Health providers are knowledgeable of the adverse health effects of smoking and this is seen as a positive consequence in their eyes.
A positive long-term consequence, ideally and hopefully, is that the tobacco industry loses much of its income and ceases to operate. Realistically, it will take more than prohibiting smoking in cars, but this may open societys eyes. If society can begin to see the short-term and long-term harmful effects secondhand smoke has on children then it is a step in the right direction.
Smoking in Car Prohibited in California
Currently eight states prohibit smoking in motor vehicles if a passenger is a minor (American Nonsmokers Rights Foundation, 2019). In 2007 California passed S. 7 which aimed to prohibit smoking in cars with children that are considered minors (California Legislative Information, 2007a). Violators would be fined 100 hundred dollars (California Legislative Information, 2007a). Similar to Ohio, California has a high secondhand smoke exposure rate. Holtby, Zahnd, Grant, & Park (2011) revealed approximately 950,000 minors are exposed to secondhand smoke exposure in California. These numbers have to be reduced in order to prevent adverse health effects and death in children. Also similar to Ohio, California proposed the bill multiple times before it was finally passed into law (California Legislative Information, 2007b).
One difference between Ohio S. 78 and Californias bill is that Ohio focuses on children less than six years old and California covers children less than 18 years old (California Legislative Information, 2007a; Ohio Legislative Service Commission,2019). Another difference is the fine for any violation, Ohios is 500 dollars with a 250-dollar subsequent violation fee and Californias is a 100-dollar fee (California Legislative Information, 2007a; Ohio Legislative Service Commission,2019).
Many organizations supported Senator Oropenza and her want to prohibit secondhand smoke exposure among children riding in motor vehicles. Organizations included American Academy of Pediatrics, American Cancer Society, America Heart Association, American Lung Association, California Child Development Administrators Association, California Dental Association, Foundation for a Smokefree America, Kids Involuntarily Inhaling Secondhand Smoke, Medical Oncology Association of Southern California, and Smokefree Air for Everyone to name a few (California Legislative Information, 2007b). In total there were 26 organizations that supported the bill along with multiple Senators and Legislators (California Legislative Information, 2007b). There were a handful of opposers but no specific organizations were listed.
Options for Improving Legislative Outcomes
Currently S. 78 states that an individual found smoking in a motor vehicle with a passenger less than 6 years old will be fined 500 dollars and any subsequent violations will cost 750 dollars (S. 78, 2019-2020). Options for improving the legislative outcome includes making this offense child endangerment. 29 Ohio Rev. Code (2019a) states that child endangerment includes creating a substantial risk to the health or safety of the child (p.1). The American Lung Association (2019) and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2018) have stated that secondhand smoke has many adverse health effects on children, including death. If the offense was stricter maybe individuals would take it more seriously. If the severe health effects and the statistics are brought up in legislative hearing, the importance of this bill should be evident.
Another way to improve the legislative outcome may include making the fines higher in cost. Unfortunately, money is a big motivator for things nowadays. Individuals violating the law may reconsider if they have to pay high fines. These fines would ultimately go to the local and state governments which would help with state finances.
Also, the sponsoring senator should look at organizations such as the American Nursing Association, American Lung Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, World Health Organization, and National Institutes of Health for support. The senator should also consider contacting local public health personnel for statistics regarding secondhand smoke exposure, incidence of ear infections, incidence of respiratory infections, incidence of sudden death, and incidence of cancers (National Institutes of health, National Cancer Institute, n.d.). This information makes for a stronger presentation to all house and senate members. Knowledge is a powerful motivator.
29 Ohio Rev. Code. § 2919.22 (2019a), available at
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