I honestly thought our Minister for Health had more sense. I was stunned therefore to see that he is not only contemplating banning smoking in a car where there are children but is talking of going the whole hog and banning smoking in cars altogether, whether there are children or not.
I own my car. I paid a lot of good money for it and what’s more I pay the government a lot of good money every year for the privilege of running it. I also shell out a lot of money to the government when I buy tobacco. It is my property and the state, or anyone else has no right to tell me what I can do in it, provided that action in itself is legal.
There has been a massive amount of propaganda over the years about smoking, to the point where the truth has long since been buried. One aspect of smoking which they don’t mention nowadays [purely because it would be politically incorrect] is that nicotine has a lot of advantages including improving concentration, attention and memory. [also here and here] Now I would have thought that anything that aided concentration and attention would be a damned good thing for a motorists, but instead of that they are going to force a smoker to abstain, thereby causing irritability which not exactly desirable behind the wheel of a car?
One of the most galling aspects of this intrusion into our private lives is that this legislation seems to be less a health issue and more an attempt to “get one up on” Wales who are also contemplating a ban. There seems to be a race on to see who can bring in the most draconian laws. I remember when Micheal Martin brought in the ban on workplace smoking that there was much gloating at the fact that “we were first”.
This is a bad move. There is no justification for it whatsoever other than rolling forward the agenda set by ASH who won’t be happy until we are all shelling out for nicotine patches and nicotine gum [you don’t seriously think it’s about health, do you?]. It is the final confirmation of a Nanny State becoming the Bully State.
In the meantime, Luke Clancy and his cronies are convinced that it is “safer to have the exhaust pipe on the inside of the car than to smoke cigarettes in terms of fine particulate matter”. I would like to issue a challenge.
I am prepared to sit in a car for any number of hours if Clancy, or Reilly will sit in another car breathing exhaust fumes for the same period.