smoking in cars ban?

(215 Posts)
ivykaty44 Wed 29-Jan-14 07:42:01

Will it actually work? I can't see that many people smoke around children anyway and those that do will not stop due to legislation anyway, then if people haven't been policed about mobile phones it will be even harder with smoking.

I am not a smoker and don't think people should allow smoking around children but can't see this having any effect

No, I don't want laws based on kneejerk populist sentiment - that's a great way to create crap laws (dangerous dogs act for e.g.) I want laws based on evidence and I want the evidence to be readily available for public scrutiny.

I haven't seen any actual proper evidence that smoking in a car is worse than smoking in any other confined space. Both are bad, obviously, so why not ban smoking in the home too?

As a pp said, we'll end up with the ridiculous situation of being allowed to buy fags but not being allowed to smoke them anywhere.

The honest thing to do would be to ban smoking altogether but that will never happen and we all know why. The whole thing stinks.

ProfPlumSpeaking Tue 04-Feb-14 10:54:20

I agree that those proposing reform should have the data. When I have a moment I will check Hansard and see what they referred to in Parliament.

I agree with you about comparative risks but OTOH sometimes you just have to go with the zeitgeist and get change in the particular area where it is feasible at that moment due to public sentiment. Also, as mentioned before, many other risks posed are adverse side effects from positives (eg fumes from transport) and it is hard to ban the negative effects without impacting on the positive (people can travel to work/school/hospital in their cars). In the case of smoking, there is simply no upside so banning it in as many places as possible seems like a no brainer.

Thanks prof and yes I can google smile I shouldn't have to though really, those who are pushing for this law should have the data at their fingertips (I mean the politicians and tobacco control lobbyists btw, not MN posters).

What you have provided isn't really that helpful though.

The first link is all about nicotine, which is not the bad guy in cigarette smoke - it's everything else in it that does the damage. It's also very outdated research. This is interesting for anyone who wants an overview of recent research into nicotine and its effects (although even this paper doesn't take account of the latest scientific thinking on toxicity, which is that the lethal dose for nicotine is likely to be many times more than was previously thought).

The rest of your C&P contains no stats for absolute risk, which is what I was after. Having spent far too long googling, I found this paper which contains the sort of data I was looking for - see here and here for graphs of the data. It's easy to see the added risk from SHS but it is presented in context alongside data from people who are not exposed. Interestingly, this data appears to contradict the US Surgeon General's estimate on the risk of lung cancer from SHS.

I would be interested in seeing similarly presented data for the risks of SHS to children with asthma, also glue ear, SIDS and any other risks associated with childhood exposure to SHS.

Then I would like to see (I don't want much do I? grin) similar graphs showing the risks from other environmental factors such as childhood diet or living on a busy road. Maybe we'd discover we could save more lives by making all new cars hybrids and eventually banning combustion engines in urban areas, for e.g.

I don't much care about this particular law either way - my DC are grown up, I no longer smoke, I don't drive and am very rarely in a private vehicle. I'm more bothered by the tone of the more general debate around smoking and the effects this has on anxious parents. Today I have seen yet another thread where lots of people are saying it's perfectly reasonable to deny contact to a child's father because he smokes. I think that matters.

ProfPlumSpeaking Sun 02-Feb-14 18:46:59

Well, really you only need to google. There is SO much out there.

Here is a round up:

http://www.mc.uky.edu/tobaccopolicy/ResearchProduct/SecondhandsmokeandNicotine.pdf

More accessible, may be the American Cancer Society's summary:

Secondhand smoke causes other kinds of diseases and death.

Secondhand smoke (SHS) can cause harm in many ways. Each year in the United States alone, it’s responsible for:

An estimated 46,000 deaths from heart disease in people who are current non-smokers
About 3,400 lung cancer deaths in non-smoking adults
Worse asthma and asthma-related problems in up to 1 million asthmatic children
Between 150,000 and 300,000 lower respiratory tract infections (lung and bronchus) in children under 18 months of age, with 7,500 to 15,000 hospitalizations each year
Making children much more likely to be put into intensive care when they have the flu; they stay in the hospital longer, and they’re more likely to need breathing tubes than kids who aren’t exposed to SHS
In the United States, the costs of extra medical care, illness, and death caused by SHS are over $10 billion per year

Some studies have linked SHS to mental and emotional changes, too. For instance, a Chinese study has suggested that SHS exposure is linked to an increased risk of severe dementia syndromes. A UK study reported that women exposed to SHS during pregnancy were at greater risk for symptoms of depression during that pregnancy. More research is needed to better understand the relationship between SHS, dementia, and mental health.

Surgeon General’s reports: Findings on smoking, secondhand smoke, and health

Since 1964, 34 separate US Surgeon General’s reports have been written to make the public aware of the health issues linked to tobacco and SHS. The ongoing research used in these reports still supports the fact that tobacco and SHS are linked to serious health problems that could be prevented. The reports have highlighted many important findings on SHS, such as:

SHS kills children and adults who don’t smoke.
SHS causes disease in children and in adults who don’t smoke.
Exposure to SHS while pregnant increases the chance that a woman will have a spontaneous abortion (miscarriage), stillborn birth, low birth-weight baby, and other pregnancy and delivery problems.
Babies and children exposed to SHS are at an increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), upper respiratory and lung infections, ear infections, and more severe and frequent asthma attacks.
Smoking by parents can cause wheezing, coughing, bronchitis, and pneumonia, and slow lung growth in their children.
SHS immediately affects the heart, blood vessels, and blood circulation in a harmful way. Over time it can cause heart disease, strokes, and heart attacks.
SHS causes lung cancer in people who have never smoked. Even brief exposure can damage cells in ways that set the cancer process in motion. The Surgeon General estimates that living with a smoker increases the chance of getting lung cancer by 20% to 30%.
Chemicals in tobacco smoke damage sperm which might reduce fertility and harm fetal development. SHS is known to damage sperm in animals, but more studies are needed to find out its effects in humans.
There is no safe level of exposure to SHS. Any exposure is harmful.
Many millions of Americans, both children and adults, are still exposed to SHS in their homes and workplaces despite a great deal of progress in tobacco control. In fact, almost half of non-smokers and more that 60% of children in the US continue to be exposed.
On average, children are exposed to more SHS than non-smoking adults.
The only way to fully protect non-smokers from exposure to SHS indoors is to prevent all smoking in that indoor space or building. Separating smokers from non-smokers, cleaning the air, and ventilating buildings cannot keep non-smokers from being exposed to SHS.

Prof - Fair point Plenty. I have since looked at research papers and found there is in fact plenty of evidence about the harm done by passive smoking (I was being lazy before). Yes, asking for data is fair enough. It's there.

Great! Care to share?

KerryKatonasKhakis Fri 31-Jan-14 19:32:50

I used to pull my sleeve over my hand and wear it over my face like a gas mask in the car. Did it for the dog too. Was bullied at school for stinking of smoke and now my mum is dying of lung disease.

Ban it completely, I would gladly pay any shortfall in tax just to be rid of the stench, litter and disease.

merrymouse Fri 31-Jan-14 18:24:37

It is legal to drink alcohol but it is illegal to share your drink with a child who is under 5.

HoratiaDrelincourt Fri 31-Jan-14 16:29:48

Visualise there are other legal things you can't do at home including, off the top of my head, performing surgery even if you're a surgeon, cooking soup to sell, etc.

Thisisaghostlyeuphemism Fri 31-Jan-14 16:17:42

Parents have the right to give their kids cancer or asthma.

How very dare the govt try to take that power away.

ivykaty44 Fri 31-Jan-14 15:56:53

How about enforcing not using mobile phone handsets to text and talk, not eating and drinking whilst driving, or jumping red light long after the other use has changed, then think about other dangers

SwimmingClose Fri 31-Jan-14 14:52:59

How about enforcing speed limits first?

I haven't read the whole thread but my Dad did this too. I was in the back of the car always and he opened his window only a crack. Hated it. The smoke always pooled in the back and was over powering.

At least in a house it's dissipated a bit. But actually as they grew older they began to smoke outside. But he still smoked in the car.

I can't see how they can enforce it either but I really don't think anyone should smoke around children.

PrincessScrumpy Fri 31-Jan-14 14:18:03

My parents used to do this and I hated it. My db and I always complained like crazy once we were teens in particular... this means dad opened his window a bit more! :s

My db and I both had asthma as children despite no family history. dh and I don't smoke and neither does db and sil - all our dc are free from asthma.

I know that's not medical proof but it's proof enough for me. Filling your kids lung with something other than air is not good for them.

Having said that - how on earth will it be enforced. Makes it a pointless law. If people choose to do it, despite all the knowledge these days, then I doubt they will listen to a law.

Not read the whole thread yet, but wonder if my OHs point has been bought up yet...?

He said if you can ban smoking in your own private car (with children in it), does that mean you can also ban it in your own private house, because there are children there too?
Surely you cannot be banned for doing something LEGAL in your private space? By banning something legal in your own private space, surely that is contradicting human rights laws or something?

specialsubject Fri 31-Jan-14 12:46:52

worth a ban, although given how many think that the ban on a phone doesn't apply to them I don't expect much to change.

smoking is a help to evolution and adults should be allowed to smoke if they want - smokers reek so their breeding chances are reduced, and of course their chances of dying earlier are higher. Not fair to impose on kids though.

HSMMaCM Fri 31-Jan-14 12:12:50

Holding anything in your hand while driving should be illegal - phone, cigarette, sandwich, cuppa, whatever.

We can keep telling parents to be sensible about smoking around their children (in the house, car, or wherever), but not all will take any notice.

ProfondoRosso Fri 31-Jan-14 11:57:46

Yeah, lets ban smoking, as banning stuff has worked so well with illegal drugs and prohibition worked a treat in the USA

Completely agree with Talkinpeace. Banning smoking would just open up a black market with more opportunities for crime and all the attendant shit that comes with it.

AbouttoCrack Fri 31-Jan-14 11:53:06

There is a little girl in my sons class who is very unpopular. (I feel very sorry for her. The kids don't understand that her family has problems, which I won't go into here, and I only know about as I was on the pre-school committee when she was there, and the SW approached us)

I have tried to encourage my son to be kind to her even if the others aren't, but one of the reasons my son has given for not wanting to play with her is that 'she smells of cigarettes'.

colafrosties Fri 31-Jan-14 11:43:33

For me, when I was a child with parents who smoked, and even now, the problem with passive smoking is not the long term health risk (whatever that might be) but the immediate fact that other people's smoke smells horrible, and leaves you with smoky clothes and hair.

I was mortified when my friend's mum said she always knew when the friend had been at my house because she could smell smoke on her.

So a ban that helps to raise awareness and to protect other children against this is a good thing in my book.

ProfPlumSpeaking Fri 31-Jan-14 11:30:03

BTW have you noticed how gross smokers smell? wink

ProfPlumSpeaking Fri 31-Jan-14 11:29:20

Fair point Plenty. I have since looked at research papers and found there is in fact plenty of evidence about the harm done by passive smoking (I was being lazy before). Yes, asking for data is fair enough. It's there.

LeBFG Fri 31-Jan-14 10:52:19

I'm following with interest. I find MinitheMinx's posts correspond closely to my opinions on this subject.

It's a fact that most smokers don't die from smoking related issues (from memory, and I haven't the paper) it's about 1/3rd. Still fecking high of course. So, we either deem smoking a public health scourge and ban it, or it is legal and we tolerate that people make up their minds where they want to smoke.

We shall soon be in the silly position of being able to by fags but not allowed to smoke them. Anywhere. Nuts.

Yes Prof, that's why I said e.g - it was an example to show the difference between absolute and relative risk. Thank you for pointing out the bleeding obvious again though. You'll be telling us that smokers smell next. hmm

From your post -
'although I realise that there are no accurate stats yet'
'breathing in fag smoke seems a lot more risky' (my bold)
'It is not as clearcut what the risk from passive smoking might be'

Is it really so unreasonable to want some actual real data in order to discuss the risks of passive smoking sensibly and proportionately?

ProfPlumSpeaking Fri 31-Jan-14 09:27:40

BoffinMum it all depends on how you measure risk. You are weighing a tiny risk of a dramatically immediate consequence (being run over) with a much higher risk of cutting 10 or 20 years off health from your life. The way that NICE do this assessment is to look at QUALYs - Quality years of life. So a 50% risk of losing 20 years of good quality life, would be the same as a 25% risk of losing 40 years of good quality life and that in turn would be the same as a certain 50% reduction in quality of life for 40 years.

If you assume a 10yo has 70 years of life ahead of them then being killed in a car accident in childhood would have to have a reasonable percentage chance to be on a par with the expected loss of QUALYs through passive smoking (although I realise that there are no accurate stats yet). In fact, only about 24,000 (still far too many) children are killed or seriously injured each year in road accidents which gives each child only a tiny risk of 0.035% (given 11.7 million children and childhood lasting 18 years) at some point in their childhood. So on this measure, breathing in fag smoke seems a lot more risky.

More relevantly, breathing in fag smoke is completely avoidable with no downside. Crossing the road is not. Just because you face other risks in life does not mean that you should not reduce the ones that are amenable to reduction.

Plenty sadly you are not quoting true stats. You have a 50% chance of dying from smoking if you smoke. It is not 0.001% It is not as clearcut what the risk from passive smoking might be, but it is likely to be measurable and significant when talking about small children.

BoffinMum Fri 31-Jan-14 08:58:43

Fair point, plenty.

I imagine crossing a main road, or driving along a motorway in wet weather, is statistically more risky for children than breathing in fag smoke.

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