Monday 25 August 2014

Drafting A Smoking In Cars Consultation Response

Last month I suggested we might have a bash at the consultation on smoking in cars which ends at midnight on Wednesday. Two fellow jewel robbers have already done just that and shared their responses, but if you fancied giving the DoH a piece of your mind as well, full details and the online submission form are at this link.

Much like our contributions to the plain packaging consultation (twice) and the one on minimum alcohol pricing, you may find it helpful to see the questions before you begin. So here they are.
1. The regulations make it an offence to smoke in an enclosed private vehicle when there is more than one person present and a person under the age of 18 is present. This offence would fall on the person smoking regardless of their age. Do you have any comments on this approach?
The obvious comment is that this is just the latest proof that government funded 'charities' and other professional bansturbators are afforded far too much respect. Last I heard there was supposed to be a distaste from this coalition about "government lobbying government" but that is exactly what this is. No-one, but no-one, apart from state-financed organisations and fellow rent-seekers demanded this ban.

What's more, they have done so with some of the most disgraceful junk science the tobacco control industry has ever produced, which is quite an achievement. Only the hilarious nonsense surrounding thirdhand smoke (ha!) comes even close. We've seen smoky cars compared with smokefree bars; deliberate misrepresentation of 24 hour 'hazardous' levels as being applicable for a few minutes exposure; and, of course, blatantly fabricated lies, regurgitated by serial liars which are so appalling they're required the unusual step of quiet retraction. For that alone they should be ignored, but especially when they are trying to implement behaviour controls on privately owned property.

You could also point out that open-topped vehicles would be exempt, but not a car with every window open and a gale blowing through it at 70mph. Apparently, that thin piece of aluminium over the top has magical properties which demand tiny smoke particles disobey the laws of physics. A more silly law it is difficult to imagine.

There are other anomalies which big government will make a balls-up of too. Will a 17 year old smoker be fined for lighting up in their own car with their 18 year old smoking mates? Well, of course they will. Will police be tasked with stopping all cars containing smoking teens to see if one of them is underage so they can fine the driver? Of course they will. Will police be bound to stop cars with tinted windows just to check there are no asphyxiated kids in the back? Who knows? I'll bet the police are going to be over the moon at the confusion which will reign once dozy MPs have engaged their tiny brains and passed this into law.

By Christ, even Nick Clegg can see it's a pitifully pointless idea which hasn't got a chance of working! Why has so much time and taxpayer cash been wasted on it already in straitened times?

Which leads us neatly onto ...
2. Do you have any comments regarding the proposal for the new offences to apply to caravans and motor caravans when they are being used as vehicles but not when they are being used as homes?
Doesn't that just make the entire thing a piece of sublime comedy?

Think about that. It's not dangerous to smoke in a caravan when it is stationary - or the government believe it is none of their business to intervene - but it is extremely dangerous when moving, or the government believe that private property ceases to be so when the wheels are moving. Of course, the same doesn't apply to a car, because the proposals state that even if the car is stationary on a grass verge or in a car park the smoke is still lethal ... err, unlike in a caravan. Got that? The mind boggles (or is it not really about health, whaddya reckon?).

Their wriggling over caravans is, of course, politicians still trying to pretend that they're not imposing on your liberties and that they wouldn't even contemplate banning you from smoking in your own home. Except when they debate in Westminster about doing exactly that.
3. Do you have any comments about the intentions regarding the enforcement of the proposed regulations?
I don't know what the "intentions" are regarding enforcement except to pander to state-funded finger-waggers and advance their illiberal denormalisation campaigns, but if there was any other intention it could well have been to introduce the precedent of the police enforcing public health industry demands for the first time in our history, as I have mentioned here before.

The police, quite simply, should not be burdened by the increased workload of overseeing the career advancement of professional prohibitionist cranks.

It is also scandalous that local council workers are sniffing an opportunity for a new empire to build, presumably attracted by the possibility of more taxpayer funds with which to insert themselves into our lives. So much for public sector austerity and the end of "big bossy state interference", eh?
4. Do you want to draw to our attention to any issues on the practicalities of implementing the regulations as drafted?
What, apart from their being unworkable; unenforceable; laughable; and a slippery slope to banning smoking in all cars, as has been the intention all along? That even the impact assessment admits that it will lead to smokers stopping more often (cars pulling up on the hard shoulder of the M6 on bank holiday weekends, anyone?) and that there is an obvious danger of drivers shifting attention from the road to smoking covertly? I'm wondering if MPs have ever even heard the term "unintended consequences". And for what? A zero improvement in the health of kids but a distinct possibility of handing even more power to anti-social smoke-haters and endorsing righteous road rage. Not to mention the fact that e-cigs will be included fairly soon afterwards - if not in the original drafting - to eradicate 'confusion' and aid enforcement.

The bully state at its most perverse.
5. Do you have any additional evidence that banning smoking in private vehicles when children are present would contribute to reducing health inequalities and/or help us fulfil our duties under the Equality Act 2010?
The usual 'equality' question. Dear God! I remember when laws were assessed for efficacy, value for money, impact on freedom and whether it was really worth it. Now, a Tory-led government is wondering if a pointless law will unfairly affect one protected group over another.

And how banning smoking in private vehicles will reduce health inequalities is anyone's guess, even the impact assessment glosses over it with a sentence that basically says they haven't much of a clue. But then, 'health inequalities' is only a term used by prohibitionists to mask the fact their policy suggestions are almost exclusively regressive and designed to punish working class people. Sounds better than "attacking the choices of the less well off" doesn't it?
6. Do you have any evidence that would inform the consultation-stage impact assessment including any evidence or information which would improve any of the assumptions or estimates we have made in the consultation-stage impact assessment?
The impact assessment is an incredible document which starts with all the aforementioned tobacco control junk science on this issue and simply runs it all through a Casio calculator from Poundland, I recommend you brew a cuppa and read it in its entirety. My personal favourite was the assertion that only 31% of under 18s are able to ask their parents to stop smoking - I wasn't aware that youth incompetence in the UK was so widespread!

I can offer no more advice than to pick out whatever makes you laugh/cry/scream and put that in writing in your response.

If you feel like making a submission, you can do so at the online form or by emailing by midnight Wednesday (which reminds me, I think carriages are covered but not pumpkins).


Last Orders said...

Time is up for petitions,submissions,papping,yapping,long winded wailing sessions,muttering and chattering ad aeternum. Nobody listens ,nobody cares,10,000 caged digital parakeets pecking at their keyboards wont make one iota of difference The health freak magpies need their feathers re arranging now and then ,their wing tips clipped, Someone needs to get a message to the neurotics, some dogs whimper,some bark and some bite.

Edgar said...

.. and some dogs piss on lamp-posts, so the 'health freak magpies' are going to get wet as well as stretched.

patty said...

Here in Ontario (Canada) we've had this stupid law for a few years now. My favourite (and so far the only one I've heard about) involved an 18 year old with a 15 year old. They were stopped, presumably fined, and the 15 year old girl got out of the car and immediately lit a cigarette.
At least so far it hasn't led to a ban in smoking in cars period.

In other news our famous mayor Rob Ford for some reason voted in favour of banning e-cigs on city property. And here I thought his only saving grace was against stupid bans...


Smoking Hot said...

Have sent in my consultation reply just for the hell of it.

Now for all you future 'offenders' (l have no doubt a law like this will come in at some point) here is some advice.
lf you are stopped an accused of this 'offence' ... deny everything! None of this pussy 'Well yes officer l was BUT...'
Deny it! Doesn't matter if there is an ashtray with cigarette butts in it. You use the ashtray outside the vehicle when you stop for a smoke don't you?
lf officer says he can smell smoke ... surely he's smelling the ashtray , right?
Maybr the officer thinks he saw you smoking a cigarette? ... No, no, no ... that was your e-cig (which you keep in your vehicle).
Lies and deceit are constantly used against smokers so it's time you wised up and used the same tactics.
Play them at their own game ... believe me it works.

John Gray said...

I shall ignore it all completely.

truckerlyn said...

Likewise. Unless and until nanny government pay for my vehicle and all it's incurred expenses, then it is mine and whether or not I smoke in it is absolutely NONE of THEIR BLOODY BUSINESS!

Just look at the increased child abuse that is likely to occur when a lone parent is driving and the kids kick off in the back, not to mention the road rage. Perhaps it will be taken out in the form of road rage instead of directly on the kids, but how does that help when there is an accident with the kids in the car?

If just about all current politicians could manage to pull their heads out of their bums they just might (slim chance I know) see the light!

truckerlyn said...

Just sent an email as follows:

How Short Sighted and Stupid Can One Get?

I just cannot believe the stupidity of this law.

Firstly, regarding distractions in cars, the first thing that needs to be banned is KIDS! They are the most distracting thing to any driver, even when another adult is present. They argue, they fight, they kick the back of the seats, they cry, they scream and shout!

For a driver who is a smoker, smoking is the one thing that helps them to keep their cool. Without smoking tempers will flare greatly and accidents WILL happen. Either the driver will turn to try and sort the kids out, the kids might even suffer abuse as a result, or the driver may resort to road rage to vent their frustration and anxiety. None of this can have a good outcome.

Us kids of the 50's and 60's grew up in smoking households and smoking cars and yet none of us came to any harm, so why is now so harmful? Just because some petty smoke haters want to retain their fat salaries, posh cars (that do far more harm than any amount of smoking), their luxury lifestyles, etc - that's why! They have to keep the ball rolling otherwise they are out of a job!

Yet, the people we unfortunately have to trust to run this country cannot see past the end of their noses!

So much for their manifesto - reducing the nannying, stopping 'government lobbying government', more freedom for individuals to live their own lives. As usual, the normal load of tripe babbled out before an election that they never have any intention of implementing.

As for the wasted money in the NHS and charities that back the likes of ASH, who receive next to nothing in the way of donations from the public, it is totally scandalous and shows us just why the NHS is in the pitiful state it is. The NHS should get on with what it is paid to do which is to treat people who are sick or injured, with care and compassion - both of which are very sadly missing in truckloads.

Finally, how are the police supposed to police this new offence when you rarely, if ever, see them on the roads - they sure as hell don't police the roads, that is left to another stupid idea - speed cameras!

It is no wonder this country is in a state and just keeps digging itself into an ever bigger hole!

woohoo02 said...

I wander if all these new ANPR cameras can see the occupants inside the car as well as the number plate, as it would be a nice little earner for our broke country, sending FPN to smoking drivers.

truckerlyn said...

If they could, it still has to be proven you are actually smoking! It could be that to assist in the hand to mouth action you are so used to as a driver, you use a substitute, such as a pen or an old e-cig that has no battery life left!

Dick_Puddlecote said...


Dick_Puddlecote said...

ANPR is an IT tool that reads number plates only, and even then not always accurately. Even future incarnations are doomed by not being able to accurately identify a cig by photo and the inconvenience of a court system. Stupid law imagined by pathetically stupid politicians.