Thursday 30 January 2014

Smoking In Cars - Two Dangerous Precedents in One Law

The full text of yesterday's Lords debate over amendments to the Children and Families Act is available here. This, of course, was the debate which led to Lords advocating a ban on smoking in cars - and on past evidence I'm sure many of you will read it and pick out snippets that I've missed.

However, Proceedings have already raised two significant precedents which threaten free society in Britain.

Firstly, those in favour queued up to say that it is perfectly acceptable to interfere in private vehicles because they'd already done so with seat belts. Again we see a previous appalling law - which has had no effect whatsoever, by the way - being cited in demanding another of the same objectionable quality.

A perfect example of a precedent in action in itself and proof of the existence of a slippery slope.

Yet the Lords' analogy falls down because seat belt laws are handled by the police as part of their usual role of road safety. There is no aspect of road safety involved with smoking in cars with or without children (we know that the preferred option is a complete ban), so this would be the first ever time that British police will be enforcing public health. The definition of a police state would include provision for just that. Imagine the possibilities for insane public health nutters if they can henceforth count on the police to enforce whatever wacky idea they come out with next, and you just know they will use it as a precedent.

Secondly, no matter how much the Lords tried to distance themselves from the idea of the same legislation being proposed for private homes, the next logical step - tobacco control's favourite trick - most certainly will be that. In fact, two speakers just couldn't help betraying their inner thoughts even as they all stepped on political eggshells to pretend it won't be a consideration.
Baroness Howarth
I believe that this is actual harm. It is extraordinarily difficult to police every home, as we know from what happens to social workers and social services every time something occurs in a local authority because the policing has been so difficult. That does not stop us having legislation to ensure that in private place, the child is protected from harm. We have heard from the noble Lord, Lord Patel, just how harmful it is. Were it left to me, I would legislate in the private space of the home. 
Baroness Hughes
When responding to the noble Baroness, Lady Howarth, the noble Lord, Lord Cormack, for whom I have great respect, as he knows, said that there is a difference between smoking, which is a legal activity, and other things that we have prohibited in the home in relation to children. But the things that we were talking about then, such as neglect of children and the beating of children, have not always been illegal in the home. They were made illegal because they are particularly harmful to the well-being of children. We take it for granted now that such things are illegal but they were not always. We invaded that private space because of the need to protect children. The same argument applies.
So there you have it. The precedent of seat belts leading to police involvement in public health, and the spectre of the state with its foot inside your front door - with police backing via the precedent of smoking in cars.

In the past, these were precisely the more profound considerations the House of Lords was designed to mitigate from kneejerk politically-motivated MPs. If the Lords are no longer capable of recognising such fundamental threats to liberty, they're all but redundant.

UPDATE:Via TrashBunny in the comments, the slippery slope is slick on this one.


MarkWadsworth said...

I think you might have contradicted yourself a bit there on what 'public health' is.
Seat belts is not a public health issue, never was, it is a private health issue. You'd be stupid not to wear one, but mainly you are only risking your own life by not wearing one. It is not contagious or infectious. And as we know, wearing a seat belt leads to a false sense of security which actually endangers other road users.
It's the same with smoking in cars. I can see the point with banning use of mobiles while driving or banning drink-driving - because you endanger others.
But somebody smoking in a car is no extra risk to anybody else, except for those tricky few seconds when you steer with your knees while finishing off a roll-up and then lighting up, of course :-)

The Watcher said...

It should come as no surprise the Lords have a more than normal interest in Kiddies and that excludes the kid's welfare and health.
Maybe their lordships have heard about the financial goodies on board the
Anti Tobacco Gravy Train,time to plunge their greying snouts in the trough of plenty,time to check the post box for some plain brown jiffy bags.

johnd2008 said...

My father was a heavy smoker as were most of his friends. He smoked in the house and car all the time.When I travelled to school on the top of the bus all the adults were smoking. How the hell have I survived to the age of 76 with only a couple of age related problems ?

Dick_Puddlecote said...

Heretic! It's quite clear that you are a tobacco industry stooge and are speaking from beyond the grave.

Dick_Puddlecote said...

True. I am using the term 'public health' in the corrupt manner that public health troughers use it.

moonrakin said...

Gosh, you think they might do a re-run of that actual smoking ban shitweasel last minute stroke of the pen / mouse? tut oh, look it's not just when there's kids in the car - we've extended it so that any child ever getting into the car won't be poisoned by second hand smoke - job done.

We must absolutely elect a non human - a parrot, a chimp, an orangutan to public office in this country.

My vote would go for a dugong - this CCC sketch made oi larf n all but I also atched the committee and the sketch ain't the half of it - if only people knew........

trashbunny said...

I don't condone smoking in cars with children but what the Lords are basically saying is that parents are not to be trusted with looking after their own children's health and, after all, the ulterior motive is to have a complete ban and everyone knows this. Furthermore, based on what is happening elsewhere It doesn't take crystal balls to see where this is going as e-cigarette use will similarly be banned on the grounds that it's too difficult for police to spot the difference between an e-cig and a real cigarette. Just wait for it!

Dick_Puddlecote said...

That's precisely what they will do. The consultation will talk about smoking in cars with children then, once they have successfully negotiated the public, they will change the proposal last minute and pass a law which criminalises smoking in all cars.

It's the only way they could get the Health Act 2006 through in its present form, and a precedent as to how to con the public in itself.

MarkWadsworth said...

Well call me a pedant, but let's stick to using 'public health' to what it means, i.e.
1. Preventing spread of contagious and infectious diseases (whether that's refuse collection, sewage and water treatment, quarantining people, TB testing immigrants, whatever). This is all good stuff and I am thoroughly in favour of it.
2. Let's be generous and extend it to bans on stuff which endangers third parties, like drink driving or basic health and safety, like having signs warning people that rails are electrified and so on. These are grey areas and people have different opinions.
3. It goes no further than that. Obesity is not a public health issue, neither is smoking or boozing.

Dick_Puddlecote said...

Yes indeed. I'd planned to write about exactly that but you've beaten me to it.

E-cigs will most certainly be included as a later amendment by referring to how difficult it is to recognise the difference.

moonrakin said...

How does one go about registering a dugong as a candidate? there must be a law against that sort of thing.

Antipholus Papps said...

So are they going to ban opening windows in the car to protect the children from exhaust fumes? Every car on the road emits 8 metric tonnes per year of a smoke so toxic it is the number one choice of suicides everywhere. The double-think is astonishing.

trashbunny said...

No chance, so don't worry:) !

Klaus K said...

Is secondhand smoke in cars harmful compared to the pollution entering the car from other traffic exposures? It doesn't seem to be:

According to a 2006-article, Ott & Siegman measured and compared toxicity concentrations of particulate polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PPAH's) from many different combustion sources in indoor, outdoor, and in-transit settings - among them secondhand smoke, incense sticks, candles, cooking, fireplaces and "in-vehicle exposures" traveling on California highways.

Except from when they inserted a piece of metal into the candle's flame, they found the in-vehicle exposure from other traffic was by far the most toxic with their method: 4 to 9 times more than secondhand smoke from cigarettes in a casino:

"Controlled experiments with 10 cigarettes averaged 0.15 ng mm−2 (ranging from 0.11 to 0.19 ng mm−2), which was similar to the PC/DC ratio for a cigar, although a pipe was slightly lower (0.09 ng mm−2)."

"In-vehicle exposures measured on 43- and 50-min drives on a California
arterial highway gave PC/DC ratios of 0.42 and 0.58 ng mm−2,
with one-min average PC/DC ratios varying along the roadway due to the
different types of vehicles. Interstate highways had PC/DC ratios of
approximately 0.5 ng mm−2 with ratios above 1 ng mm−2 when driving behind diesel trucks.

These PC/DC ratios were higher than the “signature” value of the cigarette (0.11–0.19 ng mm−2) measured in a large Indian gaming casino with smoking."

Using multiple continuous fine particle monitors to characterize
tobacco, incense, candle, cooking, wood burning, and vehicular sources
in indoor, outdoor, and in-transit settings:

Ian B said...

Mark, you're out of step with the times. Typical Georgist ;)

Public health means these days anything that affects the health of the public; since the individual is a member of the public, their health is public, so harming themself is a public health issue.

Talking about self abuse, I'm wondering how long it'll be before underage wanking is counted as literal self-abuse, and the perpetrator is simultaneously thrown into prison as a child abuser, and therapy to heal their trauma.

"How many times have you done it?"

"I... I can't remember..."

"OMG, repressed memories! Do you remember Jimmy Savile, in satanic robes being present? With a cigar?".

The Thought Gang said...

I hate smoking in cars.. but not as much as I hate children in cars. In fairness to the nutters, the nearest I ever came to causing a car crash was when I dropped a fag and panicked about burning a hole in the seat.. at 80mph.

moonrakin said...

< href="">Cleggie's noticed... - dya think he'll order the yellow brigade to resist ? .... thought not.

trashbunny said...

Guess what - the ban e-cigarette use when driving campaign has already started!

Dick_Puddlecote said...

Oh good grief. Update required.

What the.... said...

There’s quite a bit disturbing about the smoking bans in cars because of The Children™. Such bans have already been introduced in Australia
without the slightest resistance. It can’t be a health issue because there are no studies that have assessed a health issue in the “car” context. Such
research would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, because we’re dealing with short bursts of exposure, i.e., “dose by duration”. So anyone claiming that these bans are to “improve health” are lying because a health detriment has not been demonstrated. Even amongst those that don’t particularly care for legislation, there seems to be agreement that smoking in a car with children is “bad” and that education will suffice towards its prohibition. “Bad” must refer to a health issue. Yet none has been demonstrated.

Part of the problem appears to be a conflating of “health issue” and “unpleasantness”. The main theme appears to be that smoking in a
very small confined space like a car has the potential to create an unpleasant environment for children (who have little or no say in the matter) and it is only considerate (i.e., good manners) to take that into account. It may have such a potential. But why not leave it to parents to decide whether this might be occurring and how they deal with it? “Unpleasantness” is a pretty wide and potentially subjective concept. The claim is that tobacco smoke is always and only unpleasant and smoking should not occur in a car. Bear in mind, too, that slightly older children will have typically gone through antismoking brainwashing at school, potentially creating an antagonistic dynamic that has nothing to do with health or actual unpleasantness, i.e., the “unpleasantness” doesn’t come from the smoke but the brainwashing about the smoke. There are also children that have no problem with smoke.

Unpleasantness is a feature of the day. Consider just the car circumstance. Some children may find air-conditioning unpleasant; or an open window, or sitting in traffic, or the parent’s driving style, or the music playing, or sunlight, or conversation, or ending up at school from the drive, or their siblings on the same seat, etc. Children might just be generally grumpy. Learning to deal with unpleasantness (which is not catastrophic) is a
vital lesson of living. How did we get to the point that exposure to
tobacco-smoke remnants in a car for short periods is so extraordinarily
different to anything else that even potential unpleasantness, if not actual
unpleasantness, warrants education to prohibition or, worse still, legislated

If The Children™ were in such “grave danger” from short bursts of smoke in cars, then why wasn’t it the first ban enacted, why has it taken so long to get to this “urgent” issue? We’ve had years of bans occurring in other places but it’s only in the last few years that the “children in cars”
issue has arisen. It’s not a health issue for children. It’s the Godber
Blueprint in motion. It’s social engineering; it’s part of the vulgar
“denormalization” of smoking/smokers campaign. It’s the latest step in the step by step banning of smoking in essentially all the places that people typically smoke, i.e., de facto prohibition. Having succeeded with indoor smoking bans and, in some places, outdoor smoking bans, the antismoking zealots/fanatics are targeting some of the remaining places that people smoke masqueraded as a “children’s health” issue. It also further reinforces in children’s minds that smoking is “terrible” and that if mommy and daddy smoke, especially in the car, their “terrible” behaviour/addiction needs to be brought into line by the State.

What the.... said...

Then there are comments appearing on news sites suggesting
that smoking should be banned in cars altogether because it’s “dangerous”. If
it was, it would have been banned long ago. But it doesn’t figure in accident
statistics. Rather there’s research that indicates that smoking improves
cognitive and motor performance, e.g., driving a car. For example,

What the.... said...

Then there’s the “oh, we know it’s ‘bad’, but if a smoking ban was made law, it would essentially be unenforceable” approach, that preferred by Clegg.

There are comments such as - I do not see police officers routinely stopping cars on motorways or dual carriageways to see whether there has been smoking or whether there is ash in the ashtray.

Have we not understood a thing?

Council wardens and Essex Police will carry out random inspections across the county to look for evidence of illicit cigarette use.

They will even hunt for cigarette butts in the ashtrays and smell the air inside the vehicles in order to clamp down on the outlawed practice.

Workers were banned from smoking in their company cars as part of the Health Act introduced in 2006.

The law made it illegal in all vehicles used primarily for business purposes by more than one person.

Anyone caught breaking the law faces a £50 fixed penalty fine or a possible court conviction, which carries a £200 fine.

Getting tough: Police will put a stop to smoking in cars. Picture: Craig Hughes Source: News Limited
A DRIVER a day is being caught by police for smoking with a child in the car, and officers are vowing to crack down further on irresponsible parents.

harleyrider1989 said...

If anyone remembers back,the seatbelt law was the one that made everyone take notice of what was to come. Because even now we still feel the seatbelt law as an invasion of privacy and a wilful direct invasion into private life and private property. DP is quite correct to bring it up as even in the states many people want that law stricken from the books along with about 40,000 other laws made since 1980!

harleyrider1989 said...

Public Healthism,it falls directly under the safety Nazis and their the same folks pushing the bans and well everything else. It makes no diference its the same Nazis!

harleyrider1989 said...

Trash bunny you've been in the game for awhile I can tell! Good on ya's

harleyrider1989 said...

harleyrider1989 said...

Klaus I love ya stealing it!

harleyrider1989 said...

Klaus there was another study done by Stanford on car shs and they even had the when the window was down in traffic the PM went thru the roof in traffic. If I could find it and there was another CDC did and I think Ive got it........But Velvetglove did a piece on that junk study.

harleyrider1989 said...

Air Pollution Is More Harmful Than Passive Smoking, Two Reports Find

By Christina Larson October 21, 2013

Last Thursday the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) formally classified outdoor air pollution as carcinogenic (PDF). “The air we breathe has become polluted with a mixture of cancer-causing substances,” the IARC’s Kurt Straif told the South China Morning Post. “We consider this to be the most important environmental carcinogen, more so than passive smoking.” According to data from the WHO’s Global Burden of Disease project, air pollution was responsible for 3.2 million deaths worldwide in 2010, and 223,000 specifically from lung cancer.

The WHO’s grim pronouncement came two days after an Oct. 15 study published in the Lancet linked ambient air pollution to low birth weights. Researchers from several European universities and hospitals examined records for 74,178 full-term births from 1994 to 2011. Records of the mothers’ street addresses helped researchers estimate their likely exposure to a variety of pollutants, including those associated with traffic emissions. Both exposure to ambient air pollution and maternal smoking increased the likelihood of babies born with low birth weights and reduced head circumferences. (Premature babies were not included in the study.) Women exposed to levels of PM2.5—fine air particles less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter—below 10 µg/m³ during pregnancy were 22 percent less likely to give birth to premature babies than those exposed to higher levels of the pollutant. Maternal smoking was linked to 14 percent of premature births.

The steady drumbeat of evidence about the harmful long-term health impacts of air pollution comes as no surprise to residents of China’s smoggy capital, where cooler seasonal temperatures bring more coal burning on Beijing’s outskirts—and so more soot blown into the city. In late September, the Beijing government announced a 1 trillion yuan ($164 billion) plan to rein in air pollution by limiting traffic and increasing fines for environmental violations. On Thursday the municipal government announced additional measures to limit the number of cars on the road, a chief contributor to PM2.5, on days deemed “red alert” for air pollution.

harleyrider1989 said...

BMA Lying Again, Say Their Friends ... Again!

Posted: 18 Oct 2012 01:46 PM PDT

Following the recent re-opening of the drive to ban smoking in all cars (yes, all cars, the children have ceased to be that relevant as predicted here 3 years ago), Wasp did some excellent digging which is worth a read in full.

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.

harleyrider1989 said...

Another Junk Study from CDC most likely funded by a grant from big pharma like their 9 states economic harm study on smoking bans!
Below explains how the Junk science of car bans is so JUNKY!
Thats why CDC didnt include any measurements of anything in their study.Its normal tobacco control propaganda,questionaires to get a science by headline story tossed out there for the liberal media to spread like poison.

Chris Snowden does an excellent job debunking the junk science of car ban science!

Just open the window!

harleyrider1989 said...

Scotsman declares smoking ban in cars a step too far.

The recommendation to ban cars is made on the basis of research by Aberdeen scientists (as the Evening Express declares proudly), at the Scottish Centre for Indoor Air, which found that:

levels of harmful pollutants were 11 times higher in “smoking” cars when compared with “non-smoking” cars.
It seems odd, to say the least, to generalise about smoking cars, as if they all contained equal amounts of smoke, were all of the same size and all subject to the same variable conditions (same number of windows open, vents open to the same degree, and so on).

And although I agree with the Scotsman's leader position on this, their report tells us,

Some experts claim smoking in cars exposes non-smokers to high levels of second-hand smoke which has 23 times more toxins than a busy smoke-filled room. Previous studies have revealed at least three in ten smokers light up in their cars when there are other people present.
The same critique can be applied here. There is no standard exposure in a room, which can vary in size, occupancy, air insulation and all other factors pertinent to exposure to contaminants. More significantly this reporting shows no awareness that the British Medical Journal apologised around a year ago for claiming that cars were 23 times more toxic than a bar. They issued an alternative statement: 'the concentration of toxins in a smoke-filled vehicle could be up to 11 times greater [yes, 11 times greater] than that of a smoky bar' (see this link). Quelle coincidence!

The background to the story popping up last year was an announcement of a study carried out by SCIA (link above), which announced the dangers of smoking in cars, where concentrations of toxins were higher than the 'safe level' of outdoor air exposure recommended by the WHO. This is discussed here in some detail (thanks to Michael J. McFadden for assistance), but this part, concerning the relevance of outdoor exposure levels to measuring secondary smoke in cars, is the most damning:

While it is true that according to agencies such as the US EPA that urban, automotive, and industrial air pollution has been shown to be unhealthy or even dangerous when it reaches higher levels for periods of 24 hours or more, it is also true that the EPA doesn’t set standards for FPM 2.5 for shorter periods because there is no sound medical reason to believe that shorter episodes of such exposures actually pose a threat to health. When the SCIA takes readings during car journeys that typically last less than several hours and tries to apply the EPA’s 24 hour standards to those readings, it is explicitly violating the very guidelines of the EPA itself. [These guidelines outlined in the linked post above]
The Scottish Indoor Air Centre's aims are somewhat distressingly focussed on SHS levels, declaring that its priority:

1. Increasing our understanding of exposure to secondhand smoke in homes and cars (particularly with respect to children’s exposure) and its health effects; exploring possible interventions to reduce exposure in these microenvironments. We believe that the provision of real-time exposure data to smokers is likely to be a very effective mechanism of behavioural modification. [Emphasis added]
It is fully involved in the National Lottery-funded project Refresh and ASH Scotland in their bid to encourage smoke-free homes. Hence its emphasis on behavioural change.

The Scotsman is to be applauded for not supporting this move. There is no reason to support it.

harleyrider1989 said...

Hell they cant even demonstrate harm via shs