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Monday
Apr182016

Scottish council wants to ban smoking (and vaping) on local authority land

On Friday Forest was invited to comment on this story:

A Scottish council is looking to ban people from smoking in their own vehicles [my emphasis] if they are on local authority land.

Aberdeenshire Council has drafted a revised smoking policy that aims to ensure non-puffers are prevented from inhaling toxic tobacco fumes [my emphasis] in car parks.

Under the proposed new rules, smoking - including electronic vaporizers or 'e-cigs' [my emphasis] - will face a blanket ban on any premises or site owned by the council even if someone lights up in a private vehicle [my emphasis].

A report to go before the council's policy and resource committee states:

"Smoking within cars parked within Aberdeenshire Council car parks is included within the scope of this policy.

"This policy is applicable to all councillors, employees, volunteers, contractors, visitors and service users.

"All staff will co-operate fully with the policy, and any breach will be viewed as a disciplinary matter and dealt with under the Disciplinary Policy and Procedures."

The report's author added:

"The amendments that have been made to the smoking policy help reduce exposure to second hand smoke within council premises to those who do not smoke.

"This will impact particularly on young people in school grounds and older people in residential accommodation.

"Similarly, for pregnant women, the risk of exposure to second hand smoke whilst on council grounds will be reduced which is a positive change for both the woman and their unborn child.

Our response, part of which was quoted by the Scottish Daily Mail (right), read:

"This is creeping prohibition. The council has no right to dictate whether adults can smoke in their own private vehicle, even on council property.

"There is no evidence to suggest that anyone exposed to second hand smoke in the open air is at any risk whatsoever.

"Enforcing this ridiculous policy is a complete waste of taxpayers' money. Councils surely have better things to do than harass smokers like this.

"The suggestion that staff may be subject to disciplinary action is outrageous. Employees should judged on their work not on whether they choose to smoke.

"The fact that the council has included a harm reduction product like e-cigarettes in the policy demonstrates that this has nothing to do with health. It's about control and the exercise power."

The news that Aberdeenshire Council is changing its smoking policy follows a report in December that Edinburgh City Council had revised its policy to include a ban on smoking in car parks and courtyards.

Our reaction to that can be found on the Forest website - Smokers treated like lepers says Forest.

Significantly the proposal being discussed by Aberdeenshire Council, like the new rules introduced in Edinburgh, include e-cigarettes.

Vaping, as I've said before, is collateral damage in the war on tobacco and the likes of ASH Scotland, like their counterparts in England and Wales, are only 'pro-vaping' when it suits their agenda, hence their silence on policies like these.

The immediate goal is smoking cessation. But let's be clear. As far as tobacco control is concerned smoking cessation is not restricted to combustible cigarettes.

If it looks like smoking that's enough for the rules to be extended to include e-cigarettes, which is plainly ridiculous.

Then again it's equally crazy to ban smoking in private vehicles, in car parks and courtyards and claim it's to protect pregnant women and non-smokers from the effects of "toxic tobacco fumes".

Anyway, Aberdeenshire councillors will be asked to approve the new policy at a meeting on Thursday.

I'll keep you posted.

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Reader Comments (5)

Well of course it makes perfect sense to protect people from the odd stray whiff of tobacco smoke in the pristine air that must pertain in a council car park, with all the council diesel vans chugging in and out constantly.

Monday, April 18, 2016 at 9:37 | Unregistered Commenternisakiman

Of course, it's employees who will be at risk - though not from SHS or water vapour.

Members of the public should simply ignore bullying and/or report harassment by council jobsworths to the police. In the real world, though, most would probably acquiesce when intimidated.

Monday, April 18, 2016 at 10:22 | Unregistered Commenterdavid

They're attacking vaping because it looks like smoking. Common sense would dictate that both vapers and smokers fight for smoking and become one army with one mission - to stop junk science on both, to stop further bans on both, to be allowed to live in peace and consume either legal product without harassment.

I've said it before and I'll say it to the wind again, because as sure as hell vaping orgs are not listening, fight for smoking and they won't get time to attack vaping. Attack smoking to promote vaping and first it's smokers and then vapers.

It looks like the death of both smoking and vaping will be long and drawn out.

Those of us who can see it coming despite the clever campaign by vapers screeching to anyone that will listen that they don't smoke and they're not smokers, will just sit and wait and bide our time and wonder how long exactly the inevitable will happen.

As for spiteful council bans in Scotland or elsewhere, my line has already been drawn. I'll be ignoring such bans. All vapers and smokers have a duty to do so.

Monday, April 18, 2016 at 16:02 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

Nobody should obey these stupid local authority rules. They cannot be enforced and we should just ignore them. There are some very stupid people working for local authorities.

Monday, April 18, 2016 at 16:27 | Unregistered CommenterTimothy Goodacre

Dear Mr Clark

At what point are these councils acting ultra vires?

Surely the purpose of a council is to serve the public. In what way are they serving the public by punishing one section of it, under the pretext of protecting another section from imaginary ills?

It's as if the councils have run out of things to do, and have now resorted to ever more draconian measures which will achieve precisely nothing, save perhaps to make some members of the council - staff or councillors - feel a little bit better about themselves. The invoking of pregnant women and their unborn children is merely cringe worthy.

DP

Tuesday, April 19, 2016 at 11:58 | Unregistered CommenterDP

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