LA News Release on Car Smoking Ban Gets into The Daily Mail

Note: You have to go quite a way down this article to find the mention of the Libertarian Alliance. But our news release of yesterday gets fairly reported. SIG

via \’Nanny state\’ anger over call for a ban on smoking in cars, The Daily Mail, 17th November 2011.

MailOnline - news, sport, celebrity, science and health stories
‘Nanny state’ anger over call for a ban on smoking in cars

BMA says smoke is 23 times more toxic in a closed car
MPs launch a scathing attack on the proposals

By Steve Doughty
Last updated at 11:53 PM on 16th November 2011

MPs are to vote next week on moves to bring in a ban on smoking in cars.

If passed, a Private Member’s Bill put forward by Labour MP Alex  Cunningham will outlaw smoking in private vehicles carrying children.

It could be the first step on a total ban on smoking in cars.

Last safe haven for the smoker? The BMA campaign is based on the premise that cigarette toxin levels are 23 times higher in a closed car

The British Medical Association wants such an outright ban because smoke in a closed car is much thicker in the air than in a smoky bar – and smoking in pubs was made illegal four years ago.

BMA spokesman Dr Vivienne Nathanson said: ‘Doctors see the individual  cases of ill-health and premature death caused by smoking and second-hand smoke.

‘For this reason, doctors are committed to reducing the harm caused by tobacco.’

The pressure for a new smoking law has won support from health pressure groups but provoked anger among Conservative backbenchers who claim it would be ‘a triumph for the nanny state’.

The Prime Minister has made clear his own reluctance over such a ban.

Reluctant: While David Cameron was behind the 2007 smoking ban, he is ‘nervous’ about moving the policy inside people’s vehicles

Scathing: Tory MPs Philip Davies (left) and Julian Brazier (right) criticised the campaign for a ban, branding it ‘ridiculous’

Very few Private Member’s Bills become law, but they stimulate debate on an issue, and this can lead to more powerful legislative efforts.

The BMA campaign is based on the premise that toxin levels produced by  smoking in a closed vehicle are 23 times higher than those found in a smoky bar, and that children and the elderly are  particularly at risk.

The response from ministers yesterday was cautious.

A Department of Health spokesman said: ‘We do not believe legislation is the most effective way to encourage people to change their behaviour.’

Instead Whitehall will launch a publicity campaign next spring warning of the dangers of smoking in cars and at home.

David Cameron told MPs that while he supported the ban on smoking in public places which has been in force since 2007, ‘I am much more nervous about going into what people do inside a vehicle’.

Backbench Tory MPs were scathing about the campaign for a ban.

Philip Davies, MP for Shipley, said: ‘It is a ridiculous idea, and typical of the health zealots of the BMA.

‘Why don’t they say what they really want, which is for smoking to be banned altogether? They don’t have the courage to say that, so they try to do it in small steps.’

Mr Davies added: ‘Banning smoking in cars would be a triumph for the nanny state. What people do in their own cars is their own business and the BMA should keep their noses out.’

Julian Brazier, MP for Canterbury, said: ‘The ban the BMA recommend would be both an intrusion into privacy and would waste a great deal of police time.

‘It would be one more example of the diversion of police away from their  essential business of stopping real crime into a politically correct dead end.’

Mr Brazier added: ‘Where you smoke or not in your private car must be a personal choice.’

Civil liberties pressure groups were also critical. Sean Gabb of the Libertarian Alliance claimed that warnings of the risks of passive smoking were based on ‘junk statistics’.

‘Junk statistics’: Civil liberties groups have also been critical of the proposals

He added: ‘The demand for a smoking ban in cars is an instance of the “saving the kiddies” argument.

‘This proceeds by hiding the agenda of control behind a cloud of hot air about the need to protect children.’

However Mr Cunningham’s bill – to be presented in the Commons on Wednesday – is attracting support from MPs who believe publicity campaigns are not enough to curb smoking.

Liberal Democrat Stephen Williams, who chairs the all-party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health, said: ‘While welcoming the Department of Health’s commitment to launch a  marketing campaign to encourage  people to make their homes and cars smoke-free, having listened to the experts, I believe this will not be sufficient.

‘The killer fact for me was that just one cigarette smoked in a car during a  30-minute journey with the windows closed leads to levels of second-hand smoke about seven times that of the smoky bars that existed in this country before 2007.

‘This is clearly intolerable and it is time to turn the debate to how best to protect children from second-hand smoke.’

4 responses to “LA News Release on Car Smoking Ban Gets into The Daily Mail

  1. Yet another attempt by parliament to assume ” Sovereign” power, and eradicate our Common Law liberties.Cars as homes, are private personal property and may not be entered by anyone without a proper warrant signed personally by a Judge, bound by his oaths of office to uphold common law juridiction.So there then the police will have extreme difficuly in entering private property, to ascertain just what is happening.

  2. Dear Dr Gabb

    Good to see your presence being felt in one of the main dailies.

    “A Department of Health spokesman said: ‘We do not believe legislation is
    the most effective way to encourage people to change their behaviour.’

    Instead Whitehall will launch a publicity campaign next spring warning of
    the dangers of smoking in cars and at home.”

    Do governments not have ‘previous’ on this? Have not publicity
    campaigns been used as softening up exercises before ‘reluctantly’
    ‘having to’ introduce legislation?

    It has been remarked on at least one blog that the all-out ban is
    being proposed so that a ban in cars with children can be introduced
    and be claimed a ‘victory for common sense’, with the all-out ban
    being held over until the next click of the ratchet.

    If it extends to old folks, what age will that be and will everyone
    have to carry ID to prove they don’t fall into either category?

    ‘Please do not be offended if we ask for proof of age if you look over 90…’


  3. Comment on the British Medical Journal Blog:

    If you’re afraid of second-hand smoke, you should also avoid cars, restaurants…and don’t even think of barbecuing.

    here are just some of the chemicals present in tobacco smoke and what else contains them:

    Arsenic, Benzine, Formaldehyde.

    Arsenic- 8 glasses of water = 200 cigarettes worth of arsenic

    Benzine- Grilling of one burger = 250 cigarettes

    Formaldehyde – cooking a vegetarian meal = 100 cigarettes

    When you drink your 8 glasses of tap water (64 ounces) a day, you’re safely drinking up to 18,000 ng of arsenic by government safety standards of 10 nanograms/gram (10 ng/gm = 18,000ng/64oz) for daily consumption.

    Am I “poisoning” you with the arsenic from my cigarette smoke? Actually, with the average cigarette putting out 32 ng of arsenic into the air which is then diluted by normal room ventilation for an individual exposure of .032 ng/hour, you would have to hang out in a smoky bar for literally 660,000 hours every day (yeah, a bit hard, right?) to get the same dose of arsenic that the government tells you is safe to drink.

    So you can see why claims that smokers are “poisoning” people are simply silly.

    You can stay at home all day long if you don’t want all those “deadly” chemicals around you, but in fact, those alleged 4000-7000 theorized chemicals in cigarettes are present in many foods, paints etc. in much larger quantities. And as they are present in cigarettes in very small doses, they are harmless. Sorry, no matter how much you like the notion of harmful ETS, it’s a myth.