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« State of civil liberties in Britain today | Main | Spot the difference »

Smoke free cars? Thanks for the tips

A new study published this week in Scotland claimed that "Smoking in a car exposes a child passenger to dangerous levels of poisonous particles … and even opening a window doesn’t protect them".

The findings, we were told, are so stark that NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC), which commissioned the study, has launched a high profile campaign "to persuade the thousands of Scots motorists who continue to smoke and endanger non-smoking passengers to make their cars smoke free".

According to the NHSGGC press release:

The study involved a child sized doll being fitted in a car seat with the very latest smoke monitoring equipment attached at the doll’s mouth so that precise measurements could be taken. The particles of tobacco poison were so high that they compared with the levels you would expect after being exposed to secondhand smoke in a busy smoke filled pub before the smoking ban.

Various "health experts" were wheeled out to comment on the "shocking" results. Surprisingly, no-one, not even Sheila Duffy, chief executive of ASH Scotland, called for a ban on smoking in cars, although I have no doubt that is their aim. Instead we were given some 'Tips for a smokefree car':

  • Try to always take smoking outside
  • Try to make your car a smokefree car at all times for everyone
  • Have a cigarette before and after your journey
  • On long journeys, stop, have a break and smoke outside the car
  • Remove car cigarette lighters
  • Clear out car ash trays
  • Display a window sticker 'Our Car is Smokefree' (Ugh!)

A summary of the report can be downloaded from the NHSGGC Smokefree Services website.

The Scotsman has the story, including a short quote from me, here: Don't smoke and drive - it's as toxic as a pub fug for your children, insist doctors.

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Reader Comments (10)

Oh dear, I fear they are rather out of date. Has anyone else noticed that new cars do not have ashtrays anymore? As for the rest, I'll smoke in my own car and my own house and no amount of lying and propaganda will stop me. I will, however, ask my passengers if they mind before I light up with my window open as I always have.

Friday, January 21, 2011 at 10:27 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

Another piece of junk science. The statement "compared to levels you expect" is a dead giveaway. What should have been done is to compare with a car in which the window was open, but no one smoked, this is called a control. I would bet a substantial amound the control dolly would have collected a nice toxic dose of particulates and pollutants, many identical to those in the experimental set up. This is, of course, why no such control was performed.

Friday, January 21, 2011 at 10:37 | Unregistered CommenterHeretic

If they are making new cars without ashtrays does that mean they are actively encouraging us smokers to throw cigarettes out of the window when we have finished with them? Because, what else can we do with them? If these car makers are promoting us to break the law (as we have no other choice) then, shouldn't they have some penalty awarded against them? The whole world has gone totally mad! Oh, and another thing regarding the, maybe not, too distant future, the government don't want you to smoke because it changes your DNA and that would never do as it will affect those chips that they want to plant under our skins. Don't laugh, the future is becoming exceedingly scary.
Oh, and why aren't we as bold as the Spanish? They have just been saddled with a smoking ban, and guess what they are doing about it? They are ignoring it! They are also organising smoking clubs within bars and restaurants too. Why are we so accommodating in this country? We (the smokers) should have all stood up for our smoking rights and bloody ignored the total ban and forced the government to re-think their policy. We are far too weak in this country. I shall get off my soapbox now - LOL!

Friday, January 21, 2011 at 10:42 | Unregistered CommenterJan

Love the way your response to The Scotsman is pushed onto a second page on its own, Simon. :(

Friday, January 21, 2011 at 11:47 | Unregistered CommenterDick Puddlecote

ASH Scotland have insisted that they are looking for a public debate, not a ban. That's probably because they know other people will call for a ban and they will get off with calling for a 'moderate stance'.

Friday, January 21, 2011 at 13:18 | Unregistered CommenterBelinda

I'm sure the likes of Ash will stop at nothing to extend their smokefree dictatorship.

Friday, January 21, 2011 at 18:17 | Unregistered CommenterTim

Oh, goody! A perfect reason to leave people I know with their horrible, messy, noisy children standing at the bus-stop in the rain whenever I pass them on my way to work in my snug, warm, dry car. Every cloud has a silver lining, as they say!

Friday, January 21, 2011 at 18:41 | Unregistered CommenterMisty

I have just been to the newpaper site and left a comment. Most of the comments are pro-smoking and scathing in their comments about the science.

I always like having a go at the 'stinkers' (those who think that SHS makes their hair, clothes and bottoms stink). It is one of the more amusing aspcts of this war.

Friday, January 21, 2011 at 19:35 | Unregistered CommenterJunican

It will soon be an offence for smokers to have children in their car because of third, fourth, fifth hand smoke.
As misty says other children will be left in the rain because they cannot use a smokers car.

Friday, January 21, 2011 at 21:26 | Unregistered Commenterchas

Quite so, chas. "would you like a lift? Oh, sorry, I did not notice that you had a child with you. Sorry, I dare not risk the possibility of third hand smoke overpowering them. Sorry. cheerio!"

The idea is akin to the idea which has been promulgated by the 'scientists' who have said that aircraft are particularly susceptible to third hand smoke. So why are not BA and co. not saying, "This is absolutely rubbish!" I suspect that they simply KNOW that nobody takes it seriously. But the fact that AT THE MOMENT no one takes it seriously does not mean that it will not become a political hot potato.

There are many health scares - most of them silly because of the extreme marginality of their effect, but if I was an airline executive, I would take this matter extremely seriously. If this idea is not nipped in the bud quickish, then it can gain traction. The defence is extremely obvious:

1. People who have fears about third hand smoke need not board aircraft.

2. The extreme marginality of the perceived effects.


Saturday, January 22, 2011 at 2:26 | Unregistered CommenterJunican

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