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The British Medical Association have today launched a campaign to end smoking in cars. Smoking inside a car, allegedly, creates 23 times more toxins than in a smoky pub. (Which makes smoking inside a pub seem quite safe in comparison, doesn’t it?) The argument, however, is that children and the elderly are at a higher risk to second-hand smoke than adults.
The report comes following a Private Members Bill introduced by The All Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health, proposing a ban on smoking in cars with children. Yet as is typical of authoritarian health-fascists, they have instead called for outright ban of all smoking in cars.
It should be clear that those of us who smoke are completely aware of the risks. Yet as with everything that the authoritarians try to enforce upon us or ban, there is a significant argument for risks being overplayed. For every study the anti-smoking lobby produce showing the detrimental risks, another will pop up showing that the risks aren’t as severe as initially reported. The greatest example I can think of is the 39-year cohort study into passive smoking, published by the BMJ in 2003, which found only a “small effect” of environmental tobacco smoke on tobacco related mortality. Libertarians are inherently skeptical.
There are two main problems with this proposed ban of smoking in cars. The first is enforceability and the second is freedom.
Whilst driving when using a mobile phone has noticeably decreased, it has not disappeared. I see people on their phones everyday while behind the wheel, you barely look twice. This is in London, if you travel out to the country, the number of people on their phones behind the wheel increases even more. Whatever risks there may be about driving while using a mobile, it is simply unenforceable to stop everyone from doing it.
Smoking would be even harder to police because you don’t constantly have your hand to your face. The lingering smoke may be a bit of a giveaway but as someone who used to smoke in their car with the window down, that can air pretty quickly.
Yet the main problem is with freedom. Smoking around children is obviously bad, but the government should not get into the business of policing parents’ smoking habits anymore than it should with anything else. What about the parents who feed their children overly fatty foods? Or parents who simply don’t give their children a fully nutritious diet? Should we ban all parents from buying fatty foods? What about parents who enjoy a couple of glasses of wine after dinner? They surely won’t be as cognitive to look after their children if they wake up, should we ban parents from buying alcohol? This list is endless.
Of the thousands of choices parents make when raising their children, we cannot guarantee that they will all be good or moral. It is impossible and immoral of the government to start parenting our children. That job is for the family alone.
“They f*** you up, your mum and dad” starts Philip Larkin’s most renowned poem, “they may not mean to, but they do.” And the people I know who are most against taking up smoking or smoking itself, are those whose parents smoked around them when they were young. If this is about health and not control, then that’s the most surefire way to stopping our future generations from taking up the habit. But as with all proposals the health-authoritarians make, we know it’s about control.
After all that, I think I need a cigarette.
- The Freedom Association’s Magna Carta Pimms and Politics Cruise on June 15, 2013 12:30 pm
- Conservative Renewal Conference on September 14, 2013
- The Freedom Zone on September 30, 2013
- The Freedom Zone on October 1, 2013
- Christmas Lunch in the Cotswolds on December 7, 2013 12:30 pm
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