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Should pregnant women who smoke be fined?

Discussion in 'Personal' started by lanokia, Sep 25, 2015.

  1. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    So if smoking in cars with under 18s is banned shouldn't smoking when pregnant be banned?

    You know... for consistency?
  2. wanet

    wanet Star commenter

    Yes - but could it be enforced?
  3. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    Could make in illegal to buy cigarettes if pregnant, supply cigs to pregnant women or sell them to a pregnant woman?

    Or go down another route - check pregnant women for evidence that they have been smoking, and if they have remove their maternity/child benefits...
  4. guinnesspuss

    guinnesspuss Star commenter

    They can't even manage to enforce making sure children are wearing seatbelts.

    "Could make in illegal to buy cigarettes if pregnant, supply cigs to pregnant women or sell them to a pregnant woman?"
    Why should sales assistants police it
  5. Noja

    Noja Senior commenter

    This is the way the US are going - you can't prosecute women for possibly harming their unborn children if the law allows us also to kill those children by aborting them - and where do you draw the line? Pregnant women caught eating soft cheese? How could you tell if they are under 20 weeks and don't look pregnant? (or do pregnant women have to wear a badge now?) How many overweight women will get stopped by overzealous policeman? In the US, there are women awaiting trial for murder when they miscarried as they were deemed to have deliberately put their pregnancies in jeopardy by their lifestyles. It's a frightening road to go down.
    cissy3 and bombaysapphire like this.
  6. TCSC47

    TCSC47 Star commenter

    Just keep plugging away at the education of mothers to be. Isn't that the business we are in?
  7. DaisysLot

    DaisysLot Senior commenter

    A bit ridiculous unless you fancy fining pregnant women who are anorexic or obese, drink excessive caffeine, consume alcohol, take anti depressants or any 'risk' prescription medicine.

    Everything has it's risk.
    WeeScabbyDug likes this.
  8. Rhoswen77

    Rhoswen77 Established commenter

    Not at all ridiculous. Smoking is so obvious for one thing and it's shocking to see pregnant women smoke. Fortunately I have rarely seen it so maybe most pregnant women are not stupid.
  9. DivineComedy

    DivineComedy New commenter

  10. monicabilongame

    monicabilongame Star commenter

    I once knew an apparently well-educated woman who deliberately smoked all through her pregnancy as that way it would keep the baby small and would therefore be less trouble to push out.

    There's no helping or educating those who will not be helped or educated!
  11. Orkrider2

    Orkrider2 Star commenter

    For me, it depends on whether the motivation is punishing the mother or protecting the fetus. It's easy to say that mothers that smoke should be fined, but surely it would simply lead to women ticking the 'no' box to the question about smoking on the forms at the booking appointments and going home and continuing anyway. There is no way of policing it fully, so there's very little risk in simply lying.
    However, if there are no repercussions to admitting you still smoke, it means that well-meaning women who just need help and/or support to stop are more likely to feel encouraged to seek that help, which is more beneficial to the baby than a fine. Plus, it means that both mother and baby can be monitored more closely for any potential problems.
    neli and bombaysapphire like this.
  12. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    Thank you for everyone's replies... been good reading them. Some good points made. I liked Orkrider and their question about motivation, should always be about the fetus IMO... the US model Noja outlined seems to be about punishment.

    Then again, I think of things like fetal alcohol syndrome and how if someone treated a baby that way they'd be subject of child protection services but...

    A difficult topic all around.
  13. Rhoswen77

    Rhoswen77 Established commenter

    As ever a nice kind reply, Lan.
  14. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    It's the beer speaking!
  15. sabrinakat

    sabrinakat Star commenter

    I absolutely agree with the theory but the application is tricky. As an ex-smoker, it is extremely difficult to quit (I didn't smoke during my pregnancy as we were contemplating IVF and I quit a few months before I became pregnant naturally) - it is no 3 day withdrawal but can take a month plus to get the nicotine out of your system and that is before you deal with the changing your habits). I did start up after my son was born (2-3 roll-ups a day) but never inside or near my son. I completely quit last Christmas due to bronchitis.

    Yes, I agree that smoking when pregnant is disgusting and dangerous, but condemnation and punishment is hardly the right way to approach it - we have to deal with the addiction.
  16. secretsiren

    secretsiren Star commenter

    No, no, no. For many reasons.

    Firstly, it would be incredibly difficult to police. If a woman didn't realise she was pregnant for a while, would she be fined? How would you prove she didn't know? It's quite easy to continue your life unaware of a pregnancy (I did - for 3 months) and it would be very hard to prove whether this was true, whether the woman had an inkling and pretended she didn't, or whether she continued smoking regardless. Would it be policed by midwives whose role is to support and help women during this time, therefore breaking that trust? Or by police, which could lead to women with a belly being asked if they're pregnant and seems a bit North Korean?

    Secondly, if a woman is wealthy enough she will pay the fine and merrily carry on. If a woman is not wealthy, she may struggle to pay the fine and then...what? Prison? It seems just another way of making sure you're punished for being poor.

    Thirdly, there are many other high risk behaviours when you're pregnant - drinking for one. If you're fining women for smoking, surely you should then fine for drinking? And then for eating soft boiled eggs. And then for daring to eat shellfish, or eat barbecued meat, or drinking non-pasteurised milk or eating non-pasteurised cheese. Essentially, it becomes a case of the state owning a woman's body more than she does herself, which I don't think should ever be the case. A woman should have complete autonomy over her body. We don't fine people for being heavy smokers and getting lung cancer, nor do we fine people for drinking excessively and staggering into traffic and being hit by a car, both of which are high risk behaviours. As soon as you start saying 'the foetus matters more' then you're relegating women to the role of hosts. My friend and colleague, who is French, was aghast at the advice of her English midwife - no peanuts, no soft cheese, no red wine - and continued in the way her French doctors advised her which was simply to be careful and to moderate your habits rather than give those things up completely.

    So, no.
    Noja and bombaysapphire like this.
  17. Kartoshka

    Kartoshka Established commenter

    Agree with this. I suspect the answer is "No".

    Unworkable. To prove you are over 18 you can be asked to show ID. How can you prove you're not pregnant?
  18. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    @secretsiren ... first sorry but I haven't got the hang of quoting these things in small chunks as of yet.

    Secondly, I actually agree with you but this interests me so it might seem I'm arguing the other side here, just I think there are some counter points to you 3 ideas.

    1. My understanding is ignorance is not an excuse before the law. After all, driving along I could claim I'd not spotted the 40 sign and carried on at 60mph. The law wouldn't accept that. I suspect if this was a law [smoking banned when pregnant] then this would also the case.

    2. Fines could be done proportionally to income/wealth so richer women would suffer equal penalty to poorer women.

    3. Just because there are other things that are bad for a pregnant woman to do doesn't mean that makes it OK to do this one thing. I could drive really dangerously and then claim 'ah you'd be in more danger cycling' so negating my wrong doing.

    As for the 'how do we enforce this!' argument... we have laws on murder, it doesn't stop murder... but we punish the murderers... sadly that leads us to the ideas outlined by @Noja earlier which I disagree with. Not keen on seeing pregnant women or new mothers in jail for lifestyle choices. Though that does raise the idea, if a woman is pregnant and is also drinking heavily... should we just accept that or find her treatment of some kind [and sorry if this is already covered under the law, feel free to enlighten me]?
  19. sabrinakat

    sabrinakat Star commenter

    I would argue that no reasonable person would smoke during pregnancy - monica gave an example of a well-educated woman who wanted to keep the birth-weight down (not a reasonable person, in my view), so all we can do is educate as much as possible. Alcohol, however, has more obvious birth defects with the possibility of fetal alcohol syndrome with its many problems that society has to pay for.

  20. Duke of York

    Duke of York Star commenter

    It's amazing how so many of us who were conceived in the 40s and 50s managed to survive, isn't it?
    Noja likes this.

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