Smoking ban in cars carrying children backed by majority of publicThe fact that the report in question was authored by Alan "Libertarian" Maryon-Davies - one of the country's leading nanny state advocates - doesn't seem to have rung any alarm bells at Graun HQ.
Three-quarters of Britons want smoking in cars carrying children to be banned, according to a poll.
Large majorities of the public also favour other dramatic government moves to improve health, the poll found. Some 82% want the makers of alcoholic drinks to be compelled to list how many units and calories their products contain on the side of every can and bottle, while 78% favour all food manufacturers having to put traffic light-style labels on the packaging to tell people how much far, salt and sugar they contain.
It should do, because the results of the PFH report [pdf], to which they refer, appear uncannily similar to what Maryon-Davies was putting on his wish list back in February last year.
"What next? I would like to see a ban on smoking in cars with a child on board and a ban on displays of cigarettes in shops. I would like to see a real hike in tax on alcohol and a ban on deep price-cuts for booze. I would like to see a wider ban on junk-food adverts around TV programmes watched largely by children.If that didn't suggest to Guardian hacks that a trifle more investigation is required, perhaps YouGov's involvement in anti-smoking research should have done, seeing as their President, Peter Kellner, helped produce ASH's 2008 report "Beyond Smoking Kills".
I would like to see a whole raft of other legislation for health."
Still, they are righteous statists, so we shouldn't be very surprised at their spending our money to convince government that their opinions should be acted upon. It's what the righteous do.
It's when they make shit up that it really rankles. Take this, for example, from the Guardian article.
Second-hand smoke can be 27 times more toxic in a car than a smoker's home, it says in a report published today.This is interesting because the figure normally quoted is 23 times. Unfortunately, there is never any explanation as to where this assertion comes from. VGIF called it a "game of Chinese Whispers" because there doesn't seem to be any research to back it up.
The Canadian Medical Association even donned its deerstalker to track down the source, only to find that there wasn't one.
There is no evidence to support the claim that smoking in cars is 23 times more toxic than in other indoor environments, according to a report in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.Yet now, the figure has inflated to 27 times.
Ross MacKenzie and Becky Freeman, from the University of Sydney, have criticised the 'unsubstantiated' figure and plotted its path through both the mainstream press and scientific publications before become widely accepted as 'fact'.
Kim Barnhardt, of the Canadian Medical Association Journal, said: 'There is no evidence to support the fact that smoking in cars is 23 times more toxic than in other indoor environments.'
As you can imagine, I was very excited to finally be able to read a study which came to such a conclusion. But yet again, it doesn't appear to exist. In a heavily referenced report, Maryon-Davies just throws the figure out without even an attempt at offering evidence [page 10].
In a closed car, levels of second-hand smoke can be extremely high – the concentration in cars can be up to 60 times higher than in a smoke-free home, and up to 27 times greater than in a smoker’s home.So what we have here, is a report written by someone who is deeply committed to all manner of bansturbation including banning smoking in cars, aided by an anti-smoker with links to ASH, producing a non-referenced 17% increase in a mythical statistic.
Nothing dodgy at all, then. Obviously.
I also wonder if Mr Kellner bothered to tell his poll respondents the underlying goal of all this lobbying because, if he had, the result may have been hugely different.
Had he mentioned, for example, that the Royal College of Physicians - of which Alan Maryon-Davies is a Councillor - have a slightly different plan for smoking in cars, I'm not sure the public would have been so willing to express approval.
There are various policy options relating to banning smoking in cars – a total ban, a ban on cars where children would be exposed to the smoke, and a ban on smoking when children are in a car. The last option would not protect children as smoke stays in a car. Because the second option would be difficult to enforce as no-one would know from seeing someone smoke if a child was about to get into a car or not, the College believes the most protective option would be a total ban.Of course, once legislation opens the car door and invites these hideous creatures into your private space, they then have a precedent to order you around howsoever they please.
And previous form tells us that blinkered, self-righteous, disingenuous - and yes, evil - people like this definitely will do so.
UPDATE: Still scratching round to find evidence of this fabled 27 times increased toxicity as compared to a smoker's home. Nothing yet, but there was a study once in the Baltimore Sun which stated that smoke in cars was very, very dangerous. Significantly, even this measured level can't seriously support an assertion of 23 or 27 times more toxic than a smoker's home as it's only twice that of a smokefree bar.