This is a mental, pointless and over nannying piece of micro management and not the sort of thing government should be wasting time on. For a start the legal definition of ‘child’ (as for all these whingey ‘think of the children’ laws) is anyone under 18. Think about that for a minute. Eighteen….there’s all manner of serious life changing things you can legally do when you are under 18…making babies for one… learning to kill foreigners in the army for another (although you don’t actually get to kill them until you are an adult…. regardless of the fact that a good many foreigners killed are children themselves)…sorry…I’m digressing already. ‘Protecting the children’ is such a wide ranging barrel of farce that it’s so easy to deviate from the point in hand. The basic tenet is that drivers in England will be banned from smoking in their cars if they are carrying children as passengers. Here’s the Equality Analysis entitled ‘Smoking in Private Vehicles Carrying Children’ and let’s have a look at it. First off…I admit that second hand smoking isn’t pleasant (unless you’re an ex smoker like me…at which point I quite enjoy sidling up to the ocassional smoker to get a share) but we are at a point where the number of smokers in the country is at it’s lowest level since records began in the 1940’s – 18.7% of over 18s in 2013.
“In 2012, 26% of 11-15 year olds reported being exposed to secondhand smoke in their family’s car and 30% in someone else’s car.” That’s 11-15 year olds…. the sort of age where parent start to treat their children as people not delicate flowers… I imagine the statistics for people smoking in a car with babies or toddlers is… well… the tobacco team’s paper doesn’t tell us sensible figures like that. I hazard its much lower than 26%. I also hazard in these days of minimal smoking that if the numbers of children suffering respiratory diseases and afflictions is on the rise… its not due to parents smoking around their kids but something more over reaching…like generally shite air quality…the vast number of cars….yanno…big stuff. As a child of the 70’s I remember when pretty much everyone had two parents who smoked and if they didn’t use your pram as an ash-tray you were probably middle class. We were only ever allowed one asthmatic per class in school in the 70’s (and one kid in specs and one fat kid)… so I’m pretty sure panicking about smoking around kids is a bit like shutting the stable door after the horse tapped out his pipe.
I know health and safety and save the children freaks are on a roll as part of a victim led feminised culture…. but ffs – get a grip.
As with a lot of modern legislation this documentation contorts itself to cover all and every eventuality whilst taking note and allowing for every instance that may offend someone and providing exemptions.
It’s also very clear that you can’t get away with adding something like weed to your tobacco to water down the effects on your children..
.”smoking includes being in possession of lit tobacco or of anything lit which
contains tobacco, or being in possession of any other lit substance in a form
in which it could be smoked”
Given that we don’t like children breathing in cigarette smoke because of the cocktail of lethal chemicals therein you’d think people would be praised for smoking something natural (not to mention none addictive) when their children are in the car. Or maybe this is more a chance to include a judgement on a lifestyle choice in the legislation…MPs don’t like druggies. But they ‘do’ like travellers (well… they don’t if they turn up where they live…but as a recognised minority it’s the done thing to make exceptions on law so that they aren’t unfairly penalised) – the paper goes on to talk about ‘enclosed vehicles’ (it helpfully announces that a motor cycle and an open top car with its roof fully down are NOT enclosed)… it’s okay to smoke at your children if your caravan or motorhome is stationary and not on the road (verge or layby)…so if granny lives in a caravan on your drive that’s okay…. once you’re parked up on a motor home site…that’s okay… basically once the vehicle loses the ability to allow rushing air to clear your smoke…you’re good to go. Oh…. but remember those travellers? There’s an exemption…if you are in a lay-by or whatever and your caravan/motorhome is your ‘home’…. then you can light up as soon as you get that hand brake on.
“For the purposes of the impact assessment we have made an assumption that around 5% of the health impacts associated with exposure to secondhand smoke are attributable to exposure in vehicles.”
5%…. we are basing law on 5% of less than 26% [figure given for 11-15s] of under people under 18 at a time of the lowest levels of smoking since records began…
“Taking the same exposure rate [26%] for all children aged under -18 in 2014, up to 3 million children in England may be exposed to secondhand smoke in their family car”…. but I want to know what the exposure rate is for ALL children…. including babies…. it won’t BE 26% across the board. I’m no statistician or a mathematician…but I can see fuck off great holes in that sort of reasoning.
Hold on… there’s something extra for those of us who still think the problem is not as big as they are making out.
“Also, in a survey conducted by the British Lung Foundation, around half of the children aged 8 -15 surveyed said that they had, “…at some point…” been exposed to cigarette smoke when travelling by car.”
Mein Gott! 8-15 (still no lickle chavvies) and ‘at some point’ – that ‘at some point’ could have been once.
The paper goes on to let us know that poor children are more likely to have parents who smoke and as any fule kno…poor folk do not make good parents and therefore we have to assume that most smoking in cars is done by those doley scrounger bum bags at the bottom of society…. but in 2013 the Department of Transport released statistics
that say that 48% of the lowest income families have no access to a vehicle at all. In the highest strata of society 50% of families have two or more cars…so whichever car you get into there’s a chance of someone smoking. I know, I know…it’s all just statistics and you can do anything with statistics…. this is law that is based on skewed statistics and a social mores of a nannying state. It is unfounded nonsense on the whole and pretty much admits as such..
“Smoking rates are higher among lesbian, gay and bisexual people. Smoking by gay men is believed to be twice that of general population levels and two thirds of lesbian and bisexual women have smoked compared to half of women in general.
The measure is intended to improve the health of all children who travel in private vehicles in England. We are not aware of any evidence relating specifically to sexual orientation and the likelihood of smoking in a vehicle when a child is present.
We believe the regulations may have a positive effect on the health of children from LGB families.”
Smoking rates are at silly levels amongst gay men…. but child owning levels are pretty low… it’s swings and roundabouts and bollocks. ‘we believe the regulations will have a positive effect on all chilren’ is the basic tenet…. well that’s obvious… because this is law based on belief rather than solid research and evidence (as per usual). To further justify this pile of authoritarian wank splatter there’s a whole section on how it will inidentally improve car journeys and health for pregnant women… I’m fully expecting the next section to be regarding the increased life expectancy of fluffy white kittens who take car journeys to the vets. Just as pregnant women, kittens and children make us go ‘aaaaw’ there’s a whole section on how people with mental health shouldn’t see themselves as special enough in any way to earn any sort of exception to these rules… they are in with the dope smokers and poor folk as part of society’s detritus. I’m disappointed the paper lumps varying religions and those undergoing gender re-alignment in as ‘other’… salami slicing society into special needs groups really should be carried to the far reaches of ridiculousness once started. So there you go.
Personally I’d be far more impressed with legislation that bans children from cars… they are after all the reason most parents have road accidents as they are far more distracting than say…a hand held phone a god barking in your ear or Godzilla rising up out of the sea to your left and playing dixie on a trombone. Imagine how healthy the children would be if they had to walk to school too and how many million cars would be off the road with no school run.
But mostly what would impress me more are fewer new laws…. use the ones we have… and leave people alone to get on with their lives and bringing their kids up they way they see fit. If there is real proof of actual large scale harm that’s something we need to look at as a society… but the seventeen* children whose parents smoke full time in the car and who actually go on to have a directly associated health problems really aren’t worth this level of micro management in all our lives. *I’m a non smoking, car driving parent and I haven’t done the maths.