On finally tracking down the research referenced by the BBC - but not linked to as the BBC had promised was going to happen back in 2010 - he found a very interesting footnote.
For background, you may remember that the last time this subject cropped up, Vivienne Nathanson of the BMA lied on BBC radio. No, really, quite comprehensively in fact.
This was demonstrably untrue, as she should have known very well if she is to describe herself as an 'expert'. It was thoroughly debunked by her own side a long time before that transmission. After a few stiff e-mails from certain, ahem, sections of the blogosphere, the BMA were forced to issue a humiliating retraction just a couple of days later.
Please note, there is an error in the BMA briefing paper: Smoking in vehicles. On page 4, in the 3rd paragraph, the following sentence is incorrect:
“Further studies demonstrate that the concentration of toxins in a smoke-filled vehicle is 23 times greater than that of a smoky bar, even under realistic ventilation conditions”.
THIS SENTENCE HAS BEEN REPLACED WITH: "Further studies demonstrate that the concentration of toxins in a smoke-filled vehicle could be up to 11 times greater than that of a smoky bar”.
We apologise for this error.This week, via the source of the BBC's story, it seems that they've been taken to task on that, too [opens pdf].
The recent BMA briefing paper on smoking in vehicles initially stated that “the concentration of toxins in a smoke-filled vehicle is 23 times greater than that of a smoky bar, even under realistic ventilation conditions” and cited studies from controlled conditions.Our data do not support this claim nor the BMA’s retraction issued the following day changing the text to “the concentration of toxins in a smoke-filled vehicle could be up to 11 times greater than that of a smoky bar.” Our study of a large number of real-life smoking journeys suggests that SHS concentrations measured over the duration of the journey are, on average, between one-half and one-third of the average levels measured in UK bars prior to smoke-free legislation.Now, even that figure I would say is highly debatable. But it's quite clear that Nathanson was spouting utter bollocks on national radio and dishonestly insisting that a figure 15 times larger than that was "peer-reviewed" and uncontested, when it wasn't.
Et tu, Semple of Aberdeen?
This should, of course, mean that no-one can ever take Nathanson or the BMA seriously again but you know that won't happen.
Is there anyone in the tobacco control industry who isn't an agenda-driven, dishonest incompetent?
UPDATE: How prescient was this from Brendan O'Neill last year?
Nowhere can I see hard evidence that smoking in cars generates 11 times the toxicity of a smoky bar.That's because, as we now know thanks to Dr Semple, it was quite clearly fabricated.
It's time for the BMA to admit that its report demanding a ban on smoking in cars was a career low, a true jumping-of-the-shark for this busybody outfit determined to lecture the British populace. This is what happens when you opt for moralism over medicine and become more concerned with socially re-engineering the feckless masses than with boosting medical services. The BMA needs to butt out of our private lives and choices and go back to doing proper medicine, and the media should be more critical of nanny-state demands dressed up in pseudoscientific garb.Amen to that.