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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.


Spot the difference

Welcome to the new-look blog. The old one was looking a bit of a dog's dinner so I thought it was time to do something about it.

I tried changing the design template on the old blog but with all those images to accommodate it looked even worse. There was only one solution - create a brand new, stripped down, clutter-free site.

And here it is. It's not finished so expect a few tweaks here and there.

In order to keep the old site live - for archive purposes - I have given this one a slightly different URL, replacing It's not ideal because it means there are now two sites instead of one but if you need to look for something on the old site just click on the Archive button on the top menu bar.

Apart from that the content, including the house rules, will be much as before. I don't have many rules:

  • My pet hates include long, rambling comments that repeat ad nauseum what we've already discussed on this blog (and elsewhere) for months if not years. I like to restrict comments to 300 words, which I think is generous, but it's not a hard and fast rule. If you've got something to say and do it well, I'll overlook it. On the other hand, comments in excess of a thousand words are, frankly, taking liberties. That's not a comment, that's a speech. If it's any good I'll publish it as a guest blog, or I suggest you offer it to someone else.
  • Another pet hate is a comment that has nothing to do with the original post or the preceding comments. This is a blog not a message board. It's rude and more often than not it kills the thread.
What else? Oh, yes:
  • I can take criticism but I won't be stalked or bullied via my own blog. It's only happened once or twice in four years, including quite recently, but it wasn't very pleasant. And while I welcome comments from all sides of a debate, I won't tolerate personally abusive comments aimed at people who, for example, choose to smoke. I like a good argument (preaching to the converted was never my thing), but this is a smoker-friendly site and I won't tolerate intolerance.

My favourite comments are those that are short, informative and entertaining. If you remember that I'm sure we'll become (or remain) good friends.

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