House of Albion

Discussing life on a small island

Smoking: Frowned upon or illegal?

Wednesday, March 24

The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) have today launched their report tackling the impact that passive smoking has on children and announcing their calls for a ban on smoking in all areas where children may be affected.

Professor John Britton, Chair of the RCP Tobacco Advisory Group says: “This report isn’t just about protecting children from passive smoking; it’s about taking smoking completely out of children’s lives.”

The report in question claims that smoking in public places may cause direct physical harm and indirectly influences children to become smokers themselves. It then goes further by calling for smoke free homes and a complete ban on smoking in cars when children are present.

As we know, smoking was banned in enclosed public environments in 2007 and the RCP are hailing the measures as a success, claiming that there has been a dramatic reduction in the number of smokers since then.

Office of National Statistic (ONS) figures, however, demonstrate that since 1974 the number of smokers had already voluntarily reduced by 40%, a reduction, year on year, of around 2%.

The most recent ONS figures available show that in the years since the much lauded smoking ban that the annual reduction has not altered dramatically at all. The ban did however manage to dramatically reduce the number of publicans still in business.

Chris Ogden, Chief Executive of the Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association, said: “In private vehicles adults should be free to smoke, provided they do not light up or smoke in a way that would distract from safe driving. They should also show due consideration for other occupants and dispose of cigarette ends responsibly in ashtrays. The proposal to ban smoking in what is a private space is a step too far and an unwarranted intrusion on individual freedom. ”

Smoking is bad for your health, I doubt that anybody would even bother to debate that particular point but the RCP do not appear to be able or willing to demonstrate how they isolate passive smoking as the causative factor when faced with a new case of asthma, middle ear disease or lower respiratory tract infection.

Is, for example, the incidence of these conditions higher in urban areas than rural ones? I can attest to the fact that when driving along major roads and surveying the buildings adjacent to them that a curious blackening seems to occur.

Is it possible that ambient pollutants are causing this or should we assume that, once again, cigarette smoke is the culprit? If the ambient pollutants are capable of turning brick and concrete black, I would hate to see what they can do to a child’s lungs, ears and lower respiratory tract.

Currently smoking is illegal in all public, indoor areas in this country. Extending the ban to encompass anywhere where children may be present (because lets face it, they are everywhere) effectively produces one result, a complete ban on smoking in the UK.

Slowly, bit by bit, removing the areas in which a particular activity can be engaged is simply a piecemeal ban rather than an outright blanket statutory prohibition. Tactically outmaneuvering the smoking public in this way may seem like a victory for the non smoker but the consequences of encouraging an increasingly intrusive state are unlikely to stop there and as a society we will only have ourselves to blame as the inevitable meddling continues.


March 24, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment