Wednesday 18 August 2010

Myth Inflation And The Righteous Invasion Of Private Property *UPDATED*

Considering the Guardian's expertise in sniffing out research which smells of predetermination, it's strange that, today, they reported on the public's eagerness to be nannied, with a straight face.

Smoking ban in cars carrying children backed by majority of public

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.
The 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.

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.

I would like to see a whole raft of other legislation for health."
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".

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.

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.'
Yet now, the figure has inflated to 27 times.

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.


The Wasp said...

I would imagine the 23 times is the result of some prodnose in desparate need of a stat getting a calculator out and dividing average living room size (70m3) by average car size (3m3)and getting 23.333.

Average room size

Average car size

Anonymous said...

"..up to 60 times higher than in a smoke-free home, and up to 27 times greater than in a smoker’s home."

um, am I being thick - shouldn't that be 100% higher - or are they taking into account second hand smoke drifting through walls from the neighbours who smoke?


Dick Puddlecote said...

Wasp: It's as valid as any other theory so far. And definitely feasible with these shysters.

PJH said...

Three-quarters of Britons want smoking in cars carrying children to be banned, according to a poll.

That would be the three quarters (give or take) that don't smoke then.


Anonymous said...

Three-quarters of Britons want smoking in cars carrying children to be banned, according to a poll.

Does anyone know anybody that has ever been asked to take part in any of these polls?

Gordon the Fence Post Tortoise said...

Anon - that's it - the extrapolation of a mystery "poll" - with no explanation - used to justify more nannying poisonous control freakery.

Ah... democracy in action eh?

Myth Inflation indeed - just keep pumping Righteous boys and girls, yep, keep pumping hard, anything to keep the pressure up...

Oh boy - am I waiting for the bang and some lavish helpings of schadenfreude.

Mark Wadsworth said...

The 23, 27, 60 figures are complete rubbish, because most people will wind down the window when having a fag, so the air is replaced in its entirety every minute or two.

It is quite possibly the case that 60 - or even 100 - is the correct figure if four people in a car smoke five fags each in the space of an hour with the windows shut, so what?

Unknown said...

It's getting to the point of insanity, this anti smoking shite, surely the plebs must see this...surely?

Do real people really see these 'newspapers' as true Guardians, sorry for the pun, of the populace???

Maybe the movie Fahrenheit 451 got it wrong, it should have been newspapers that should have been burned? Oh the smoke, the smoke!

Witterings from Witney said...

DP, the CMA is correct as confirmed by Booker and North in their book Scared to Death.

Likewise there is no autopsy procedure that can determine anyone died from second hand smoke.

When I become PM there will be a law introduced that states any producer of a report or statement which is untrue and cannnot be substantiated promptly loses £10k from the salary each time they do it. That should shut up prats like this one and Debbie Arnott!

Unknown said...

Only doing this post because I forgot to tick the box for an email back whenever someone posts...oops.

Bucko said...

I think The Wasp and PJH have done more serious research in response to this article that all the anti smoking research I have ever read.

Anonymous said...

Welcome to hell.
Only kidding.
Er no i'm not.
Kellner, hmm, read his beyond smoking kills article in the Guardian... phffffff hahahahahahahahahha ,oh dear please stop !
Bit of a necrophiliac if you asked my opinion.
Not to mention a strange vested interest in bashing smokers .
But then interest in necrophilia seems to be a big problem in the anti smoking lobby - certain sectors of the medical (get grants for money). (epidomology), quackery LOBBY.
Well black clothes silver buckles are in at the moment !
Or at least pretending to be.
It sells !
It makes money !
As for politicians ....
The commonwealth and protectorate did not last very long.
Wonder why, hmmm ?
Puritans (the mad health - expensive to maintain lobby), lying ?
No surely not, "thou shalt not lie ".
They believe....
Only puritans (gods chosen) may lie.
As they say....
God, (GAAAAAD), allows them to lie,only they, the chosen,may lie.
We ,the smokers are guilty and god will smite us with his, errrr ,great gold spitoon from the sky ? ****

S**** see mad posts by seriously deranged people suffering from "anti smoker psychosis" who actually believe that smokers spit all the time !
Not to mention try to kill them as second hand smoke is 16 more times deadlier than actually smoking !
Or so they say ,

Conclusion ..anti smoking is now a phobia.
They need help I think.

Anonymous said...

I still go back to the seatbelt law which came in (via individual US states in the 1980s, if I recall correctly). The mantras were: 'Think of the children' and 'That's all we want'.

About five years later it was banning smoking on all flights under two hours. Again, it was 'Think of the children' and 'That's all we want.'

Look at the state we're in today.

Churchmouse ('Churchmouse Campanologist')

Anonymous said...

A big tip for anyone really interested in restoring freedom,
liberty and choice, wou will all have to spend some time away from your PCs doing some footwork.
badges attacking,ridiculing,belittling,
the ban and atracting attention to
campaigners and activists.
Constant and consistent,relentless
and repetitive propoganda,week in and week out.Plaster every pub with stickers and the following week , if they' gone replace them.
It is the only way to reach the
millions who think nobody cares.
There's a million locations ready made for postering ,all legal and used by
smokers everyday.
Rmember we only need 1 in a 1000
and the fight is won.

Lionhearted or half hearted.
Up to you

Anonymous said...

To Anon-lionhearted

A good idea. Messaging could be on the lines of 'What if crisps were banned tomorrow?' or 'What if you suddenly found out your favourite soft drink were banned?' or 'What if you couldn't visit your Nan or Granddad any more?' Big blow-up piccies of anonymous crisp packet or soft drink. For the last, a big photo of a grandmother or grandfather cuddling their infant grandchild? Then, a banner along the bottom, something along the lines of, 'TAKE BACK YOUR LIFE'.

You read it here first ...

Churchmouse of 'Churchmouse Campanologist'

Anonymous said...

Here's one for your links, Dick:

Fire-breathing bartenders face jail time

Bill Sticker said...

Alan Maryon Davies a Libertarian? You are kidding aren't you?

JuliaM said...

"That would be the three quarters (give or take) that don't smoke then."

I'm a non-smoker. I'd never have voted 'Yes' to such a proposal.

Probably why I've never been sampled for one of these!

Anonymous said...

You cannot equate the claimed 75% with the smoking prevalence in the UK.

These types of polls are usually loaded such that the result is predetermined.

Do you have the poll questions, their answers, how many people responded, how many were asked?

Furor Teutonicus said...

TheBigYin said...

Maybe the movie Fahrenheit 451 got it wrong

The MOVIE????

Last I read it it was a Ray Bradbury BOOK. Remember those?

Oh And B.Y, Glad to see I am not the ONLY one with the "recieve notification of replys" button.

Bucko said...

You have just got to read this over at Big Brother Watch.

PJH said...

Bucko: You have just got to read this over at Big Brother Watch.

And for the benefit of people who come here after that item's moved off their front page, it will probably be here: Smokers harrassed - with the encouragement of a school, and the co-operation of the police

Dick Puddlecote said...

Bucko & PJH: Jeez! Thanks for pointing it out, I've added the link to a piece further up.

Anonymous said...

Simples, Dick.

If the risk is zero in any indoor space other than a car, and the risk is zero in a car, then 23 times or 27 times or 1,000 times can all be used as the multiplier and all are mathematically correct.


Ian R Thorpe said...

What I want banned is those smug little window signs that say "Please drive carefully, child on board."

They make me want to pull the driver over and say, No you drive carefully, it's you effing child