Smoking in cars

There has been a bit of a furore over the last couple of days in the U.K.

The British Medical Association wants smoking banned in all cars.

There are so many things that are wrong about this that I’m not sure where to start.

First of all, the figures used by the BMA [supposedly the medical authority] that smoke in cars is 23 times stronger that the levels found in a smoky pub are based on nothing more than junk science and have actually been retracted in a very quiet press release.  Of course the damage is done now and the Antis are gleefully quoting the original figure.

All that apart, I would ask what right anyone has to dictate what I do in my car?  Maybe an argument could be made for not smoking in a car with children present but what about when I am the only occupant?  Are they claiming that my smoking produces second hand smoke that may kill me?  My car is my own space.  I paid heavily for the car and each year I pay heavily for insurance, road tax and a car test.  Every time I pull into the pumps I give the government another great whack of my cash.  I pay dearly to run my car and no one is going to tell me what I can or cannot do in it.  As far as I am concerned, if I want to do something in my car that doesn’t affect the safety of my driving, I will do it.

There is not one single justification for this intrusion into privacy.  It is just another spiteful attempt to denormalise smokers and presumably to extort more money from them in fines.

You may wonder why I am so worked up about something that won’t affect me, but unfortunately Ireland seems to have signed up to the race to see who can produce the harshest anti-smoker regime.  What happens in the UK will inevitably happen here.

One aspect of this proposed ban which I haven’t seen mentioned is the effect of forcing drivers not to smoke.  Smoking has been proved to improve concentration, and also smokers find the odd cigarette to be soothing.  Both these benefits can only be an aid to driving.  Similarly, preventing someone from smoking can produce a shortness of temper and a distraction.

I would consider myself to be a reasonably good driver.  In the forty years I have been driving I have had many accidents – too many to count, but I was to blame in only one of those accidents when my brakes failed.  I consider myself to be a calm and considerate driver.  I may pass the odd comment when I witness bad driving but I’m not one to wave two fingers out the window or even to yell profanities.

Some years ago, I stopped smoking.  One of the things I noticed was the way my driving changed.  I admit that my driving became atrocious.  I became aggressive and angry, and shudder to think of the accidents that I very nearly caused.  There were a few reasons why I went back to smoking the pipe, and one of the major ones was because I literally terrified of my own driving.  Once I started smoking again, the old placid, considerate driver returned.

I would therefore make a simple prediction.  If this ban is imposed in the U.K. I predict that the accident rate is going to noticeably increase as will the incidents of “road rage”.

You have been warned.

-oOo-

This article also appears in Smoking out the Truth.

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Comments

Smoking in cars — 19 Comments

  1. You are alone in your car. Police are on the lookout for you smoking. This is not about health. This is not about crime. This is about giving the police more opportunity to find something wrong with you. This is about smoking prohibition. This is about conditioning citizens to burry their heads in the sand when a minority is persecuted- will children be encouraged to turn-in family members who smoke?

    Are the police complaining about this newly proposed police action? Or, are they eager to find something else wrong with you? 

  2. Doc – A mere abbreviation.  One or two fingers is all the same to me.

    Ramrod – I wholeheartedly agree.  The general aim is to stop people smoking in cars with children, but they say that would be too difficult to police so they want a general ban on all motorists.  It really is sickening, the level to which the state tried to intrude on private lives.  There are those in the UK [and probably Ireland] who equate smoking in front of children with child abuse.  If those fuckwits had ever been abused they would know there is an ocean of difference.

  3. i’d wish they’d leave it alone ffs. you know, i’ve never smoked, in fact, i suffer from a lung problem..no big deal. i grew up in a family of smokers most who still do.
    thing being i don’t care who smokes or where as long as it’s not in my house or my car. i politely request not to be smoked around as it does impact me badly but if people want to smoke i just move away. fair enough, and most of my friends respect that. if someone wants to smoke have at it i say, enjoy what you wish. 
    they tried to bring a bill in here to ban smoking in apartment buildings…in the actual apts! nope i was having none of it and expressed in writing to powers that be.
    dammit i’m rambling now, lost my train of thought…sighh..ooo post its i like post its they look like wee square rainbows ~wanders off to play~   

  4. I’d like to see the wording of the law on this. What kind of smoking do they mean? Is it just tobacco based products? If I started a campfire in the passenger seat, utilising the leftovers from a trip to McDonald’s, does that fall under the same law too? These laws can be tricky things. 

    Does the car have to be moving or can it be in my garage with the door closed? What if I had used the hose off an old hoover, connected it up to the exhaust and piped the fumes into the passenger area of the car? Would that break the law? If not, how many children would I need to stick in there first? These laws can be very tricky.

  5. Grandad:

    The general aim is not to protect children. This is a pretense. The purpose of this law is sadism.

    These lawmakers are not fuckwits. They are bullies. Libertarians like to pretend that people who intrude on others personal lives are stupid and need libertarian wisdom.

    You can’t reason with bullies. You have to tell them off.

  6. Cat – Correct me if I’m wrong but do you find that smokers tend to be far more considerate than anti-smokers?  Heh!

    Gammagoblin – An excellent point!  Is old Father Ben going to be arrested on his way to church for burning incense in his car?  Will the fire-eater be prevented from practicing his art on his way to work?  Personally, I’m going to learn to blow smoke rings out my arse – can you imagine the charge being read out in court?!

    Dick – That had occurred to me all right.  Unfortunately I can imagine it being a little beyond my pension’s capabilities.  Maybe I could just paint all the glass black, but leave little slits like the old wartime headlamps?

    Ramrod – Not only is it fuck all to do with children, it has fuck all to do with health.  It’s just another way to tighten the screws on the smoker.  As far as I am concerned, it is beyond the limit.  If the law is brought in here I will categorically refuse to obey it, nor will I pay a fine.  If it means gaol, then so be it.

  7. Maybe I could borrow one of the daughter’s baby car seats and put one of those revoltingly lifelike dolls prominently in it?  Wind the fuckers up good and proper!!

  8. I don’t encourage anyone to do what I don’t do. I wouldn’t drive past the police smoking because I smoke crystal meth.

    I do wear my “I love crystal meth” shirt to court.

  9. Wow, it seems I’ve been gone from the UK longer than I thought. Gone are the live and let live days I remember. You’re absolutely right Grandad, unless there are children in the car it should be of zero consequence to anyone if drivers smoke. In fact, since smoking is considered to have a calming effect, it could even be deemed beneficial. I hasten to add, I don’t smoke and never have. That was my choice. It’s such a pity smokers don’t get to choose anymore and get told what to do! 

  10. Ramrod – My one concession to the law will be that when I am arrested, I’ll probably be smoking “regular” tobacco.

    Denise – Both the UK and Ireland have gone to hell in a handcart.  The anti-smoking business no longer anti-smoking – it is now anti-smoker.  They have said as much themselves.  Their aim is to demonise a third of the population for no other reason than sheer vindictive spite.  What’s worse, they are now turning their guns on alcohol and obesity, using exactly the samr tactics they used on smokers.  It would drive one to drink.

  11. In this country at least, the implementation of this anti-smoker’s wet dream would be a joke.
     
    We currently have laws banning the use of mobile phones while driving, yet every time I’m outdoors the problem is as widespread as ever.
    Laws were introduced to curb the use of those ‘foghorn’ exhausts and heavily tinted windows that the boyracing fuckwit brigade are so keen on. Has that solved the problem? They’re still ten a penny.
    The main reason for this has to be the Gardai themselves. For the most part they’re a bloody joke. Is it any wonder that most people don’t take them seriously?! If the Government even got their fingers out of each others holes they might realise that more severity by Gardai on these problems might even raise more revenue through fines.
     
    This to me symbolises the the psyche and attitude of the Gardai themselves. The two lads featured would probably do a better job as well:
     
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j8k1d8uX9Gw

  12. What the hell are you guys on about? There is no law. There is no law pending or introduced. There is no plan to introduce a new law. It’s merely a BMA report. Loco.

  13. TT – No point in complaining after the event.  These health freaks have the ear of government and most of the “health” laws have been dumped on us shortly after such reports.

  14. It’s a dopey idea. I have this vision of drivers, once stopped, saying ‘well officer, i didn’t actually inhale’.
    Then what?

  15. Mick – Of course it’s a dopey idea.  Apart from anything else I presume the Gardai should have better things to do with their time.  Unfortunately I know our Minister for Ill Health is contemplating just such a move here as well.

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