Wednesday, November 11, 2009

PACT Act Update


The Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act of 2009 ("PACT Act") (S.1147), which is currently before the Senate Judiciary Committee, contains a provision which would make ALL cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products nonmailable.

The Senate Judiciary Committee will not meet this week, but is meeting the week of November 16th. It now appears that the Senate Judiciary Committee will likely approve the PACT Act at its Executive Business Meeting on November 19th. Once the PACT Act is approved by the Judiciary Committee, the Bill will move to the Senate floor where it could be voted on at any time.

Phillip Morris USA will do everything within its power to see that this Bill is passed before the end of this year.

At this point, we need to slow the Bill up and get it pushed into the Second Session of this Congress. With the mid-term elections taking place in 2010, it will get a little tougher to pass the PACT Act because of the distraction cause by campaigning.

If you wish to preserve your rights and freedoms, you have to make your opinion known and your voice heard. Contact your Senators today and tell them to vote NO on S.1147, the "PACT Act"!


You can dial your Senators office using 1-800-828-0498 to be connected with a Capitol Switchboard Operator. Simply ask the Operator to connect you with your Senators Office. When you contact your Senator you do not need to identify yourself as a smoker or as someone who purchases cigarettes and/or smokeless tobacco products by mail-order, telephone-order, and/or the Internet. You only need to identify yourself as a resident of the state they represent.

Time is crucial at this point, so a phone call is by far the best choice for contacting your Senators.

Click here to view a PDF file with more information about the "PACT Act".

Monday, November 9, 2009

Ohio court bans mom from smoking near child

"....the cases highlight two competing interests: A parent's right to smoke versus a child's right to breathe smoke-free air."

Since when did a kid have a "right to breathe smoke-free air?" There's no such thang as smoke-free air anywhere as long as we got vehicles outside and heaters and stoves inside.

It's OK for a kid to inhale fume in a house from heat or a stove. But not cig smoke from his/her parents?? I don't see how smoke otha than cig smoke can be more safer for a kid to inhale. Cig smoke is harmless.

I notice how parents smoking around their own kids is being treated like a crime. Where is dis same treatment at when it comes to kids having parents who are crackheads and/or parents with guns in their homes? A kid's safety is a lot more in danger with guns in a crib compared to smoking cigs around the kid. Unless the parents have enuf sense to keep the guns outta their kids' reach.

http://news. cincinnati. com/article/ 20091108/ NEWS010702/ 911090327/ Court+bans+ mom+from+ smoking+near+ child+

That was a Warren County court's order to a mother last December - and now an appeals court has sided with that ruling, taking the unusual step of using "judicial notice" to conclude that second-hand smoke is a danger to a child.
In a decision that could apply to many other child-custody and visitation cases, the Ohio 12th District Court of Appeals in Middletown upheld the Warren court's decision forbidding anyone from smoking around Victoria Anderson, 9. Since she was a baby, she has lived with her great-grandmother in suburban Dayton, Ohio; she gets "parenting time" with her divorced mom and dad.
In April 2008, Victoria's paternal great-grandmother, Marilyn Anderson, objected to the child's mother, Racheal Hill, smoking around Victoria during visits. The child returned home "smelling of cigarette smoke as a result of Racheal smoking in her home and car," court records say.
Eight months later, the court ordered all parties to protect Victoria from second-hand smoke; the appeals court, which oversees an eight-county area, upheld the smoking ban Oct. 26.
Disputes over parental smoking have been cropping up in family-court cases nationwide, legal experts say, and the cases highlight two competing interests: A parent's right to smoke versus a child's right to breathe smoke-free air.
Courts appear to be deciding such clashes based on the "best interest of the child," rather than whose "rights" win out, Kansas lawyer Jeanette Igbenebor wrote in a 2002 article, "Smoking as A Factor in Child Custody Cases."
The article recommends: "As a simple truism, parents who wish to retain custody of their children should not smoke in front of them."
Action on Smoking and Health, a non-smokers' rights group in Washington, D.C., says courts in at least 18 states have ruled that "subjecting a child to tobacco smoke is a factor which should be considered in deciding custody."
In the Warren County case, even with no evidence that Victoria suffers specific reactions or health issues from exposure to smoke, the court ruled that a smoking ban was in the child's best interest

To reach that conclusion, the court did something unusual. It "took judicial notice" - without anyone presenting proof in court - of an "avalanche of authoritative scientific studies" that say second-hand smoking poses risks to children.

Taking judicial notice is fairly unusual, said Marianna Brown Bettman, a University of Cincinnati law professor.
"This could be viewed very broadly in future cases," she said. "If you don't have to prove that smoking is harmful to your child specifically. ..then that could become kind of a general order in almost any case."
Bettman wonders: "Is this going to be now a general standard that's fair to raise in a disputed child custody case?"
Dayton-area attorney David McNamee, who represents Victoria's great-grandmother, thinks it should be.
McNamee, who devotes about 90 percent of his law practice to family-court issues, said smoking has become an issue in more child visitation and custody cases during the past five years or so.
Mitchell Karpf, a Florida lawyer who chairs the American Bar Association' s Family Law Section, predicts the smoking issue could evaporate from the courts in coming years. As pressure to quit smoking increases, the number of smokers dwindles, he said.
In the meantime, courts likely will treat smoking "no differently than any other health hazard to a child," Karpf said.
In Ohio, no-smoking rulings date to at least 2002, when the state Supreme Court upheld a Lake County judge's decision prohibiting anyone from smoking around a healthy child. That judge acted on his own initiative.
Often, parties agree they shouldn't smoke in front of kids, McNamee said. McNamee says that he is a smoker, but has never lit up in the presence of his 8-year-old daughter.
Andrea Ostrowski, a Springboro lawyer who represented Racheal Hill, said the case is about a bigger principle than her client's desire to smoke.
"She doesn't necessarily mind stepping out of the house (to smoke) when the child is there," Ostrowski said.
Rather, Hill objects to the court's "intrusion into her home," regulating even a legal activity such as smoking, Ostrowski said. The court ruling also limits where Hill can take her daughter, such as to the home of a friend who smokes.
Ostrowski is concerned that the smoking ban "can be used as leverage" against Hill during future visitation and custody proceedings. Hill could be hauled into court on the mere suspicion that she smoked around the child, facing a contempt charge that could bring jail time, Ostrowski said, adding: "How do you prove that you didn't do something?"
Ostrowski also is concerned that custodial parents could cite this case as an example and try to get courts to enforce limits on other legal activities of non-custodial parents. "The court has opened that door," she said.