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« BMA apologies for "error" | Main | Smoking in cars: those interviews in full »

Prague must wait, I have an article to write

Damn. I was supposed to fly to Prague this week for Tabexpo 2011. I was looking forward to it too. I've never been to Prague.

I couldn't go yesterday, obviously, which meant that I missed the keynote speech by John O'Sullivan, a former adviser to Margaret Thatcher. I also missed last night's welcome dinner.

I was still hoping to catch a 7.00am flight from Heathrow this morning or, failing that, a late afternoon flight.

Instead I've been doing more interviews about smoking in cars as well as writing an article for the Huffington Post which I have almost finished. Towards the end I ask the question 'Why is the BMA calling for a comprehensive ban on smoking in cars?'. I then speculate as follows:

My view, for what it’s worth, is that it’s tactical. The BMA’s declaration coincides with the second reading of Labour MP Alex Cunningham’s Private Members’ Bill which calls for a ban on smoking in private vehicles when children are present. It’s listed to be debated on Friday 25 November.

The BMA has possibly worked out that by calling for more extreme action, the coalition government may see a ban on smoking in cars with children as a reasonable compromise.

I may be right because, unknown to me (I have only just read it), the Huffington Post this morning published a piece by Dame Helena Shovelton, chief executive of the British Lung Foundation, entitled Calls for a Ban on Smoking in Cars Are Welcome, but Action on Children Is Needed Now. (I assume that my article is intended to be a companion piece.)

As we know (and I respect them for it), the tobacco control industry is very well coordinated. Alex Cunningham, the BMA and the BLF are not working in splendid isolation. They will be working together, I'm sure, and privately they will all be singing from the same hymnsheet. First, a ban on smoking in cars with children, then a ban on smoking in all private vehicles.

By calling for the latter now the BMA is trying to make a ban on smoking in cars with children appear more liberal. They will be delighted with that, believe me, because they know that, after that, a ban on smoking in all vehicles is only a matter of time.

The police will see to that, I'm sure, on the grounds that it is difficult to see whether there is a child in a moving vehicle without stopping it. Far easier, they will argue, if ALL vehicles are no-smoking.

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Reader Comments (9)

Not forgetting that ASH will have drafted Alex Cunningham's Bill, provided data to all those involved in this venture and written the Health Committee's supporting opinion.

Thursday, November 17, 2011 at 15:06 | Unregistered CommenterXopher

Isn't Cameroon opposed to a ban in cars, since he believes it to be an invasion of private space?

Thursday, November 17, 2011 at 15:10 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Henson

An eventual complete ban on smoking in cars will of course be followed by a ban on using e-cigarettes in cars on the grounds that its hard for police to tell the difference between e-cigs and real cigarettes, and so it goes on!

BTW, a good expose on the ridiculous 23fold claim in the BMA briefing can be found here:

Thursday, November 17, 2011 at 15:27 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

This country is screwed. Despite everyone knowing the stats on smoking in cars is pure fantasy we will hear it spouted time and time again in the HOC on the 25th. l certainly won't watch it on TV, I can't afford a replacement when l throw something at it through sheer disgust.

Thursday, November 17, 2011 at 15:39 | Unregistered CommenterSmoking Hot

The BMA is lying and bases all of this on fraud and a study that hasn't even been done. In truth the only action police should take is to prosecute these people for encouraging hatred of a minority group but of course they won't.

The BMA and its lies means that millions of people woke up today with a complete loss of faith and trust in doctors.

Thursday, November 17, 2011 at 15:43 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

l suppose the BMA speaks for all the doctors and nurses that smoke too?

Thursday, November 17, 2011 at 15:50 | Unregistered CommenterSmoking Hot

No check out my blog SH where you will see that a BMA member said yesterday that smoking can only cause lung cancer if HPV is present and can be "good" for you in other ways. She does not agree with the lying propaganda because it is counter productive. I guess when they find out who she is she will lose her job. That's what happens when honest medics go off message. She is a non-smoker too.

Thursday, November 17, 2011 at 17:10 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

Also check out VGIF's blog as it seems that the BMA have recanted about the 23 percent garbage.

Thursday, November 17, 2011 at 18:16 | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYin

Sorry you didn't make it to Prague. It would have been good to see you. You did not miss O'Sullivan, though -- he did not show up.

Friday, November 18, 2011 at 8:56 | Unregistered CommenterCarl V Phillips

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