Lancashire TelegraphEducation is the way to stop smoking (From Lancashire Telegraph)

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Education is the way to stop smoking

If I spot a driver with a cigarette in his mouth I try to give him a wide berth.

There’s some evidence I read somewhere that drivers who smoke are more likely to have accidents – though this may also be because (in my prejudiced observation) they are more likely to be driving poorly maintained battered white vans.

Now, the British Medical Association (BMA) have added to the charge-sheet against drivers who smoke.

It’s so dangerous, they say, that though you are the only person in the vehicle it should be a criminal offence to light up.

The concentration of toxins is 23 times higher than in a smoky bar.

I’m the former Home Secretary and Justice Secretary, who is not exactly regarded as soft.

I did introduce some new criminal offences – and lengthen sentences on others.

Tougher enforcement and punishment does bring down crime.

But even for me the BMA’s proposal is, frankly, over the top.

Some new laws are easy to enforce. The ban on smoking in public places – clubs, pubs, and restaurants included – is a good example.

Much to my surprise there’s been an astonishing level of public consent to this law change. There have scarcely been any breaches or prosecutions.

But watch passing traffic for any length of time. I guarantee that you’ll spot at least one driver using their mobile phone.

Seeing drivers texting whilst driving is not unusual.

That really is dangerous. It’s an offence. But it goes on because it’s not easy to detect.

Our police have more important things to do, not least at a time when the resources available to them are being reduced.

I’m profoundly uneasy about making the smoking of a cigarette in the private space of an individual’s car into a criminal offence. It’s disproportionate.

Virtually every smoker I know would like to give it up.

These days they do treat non-smokers with great respect.

The better way to cut down on the number of drivers who smoke is by education, not the criminal law.

Comments (4)

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12:02pm Thu 17 Nov 11

Ken Shuffles says...

I feel the same about greedy bastards with more than one income stream.
I feel the same about greedy bastards with more than one income stream. Ken Shuffles
  • Score: 0

3:14pm Thu 17 Nov 11

Fat Flan says...

Quote: Our police have more important things to do, not least at a time when the resources available to them are being reduced. Quote.
Not in Accrington. They have still not investigated properly the death of Andy Miller as a case of Corporate Homicide thus denying the Miller Family their RIGHT under this Act to have the death discovered by a jury (section 8).
Quote: Our police have more important things to do, not least at a time when the resources available to them are being reduced. Quote. Not in Accrington. They have still not investigated properly the death of Andy Miller as a case of Corporate Homicide thus denying the Miller Family their RIGHT under this Act to have the death discovered by a jury (section 8). Fat Flan
  • Score: 0

10:09am Tue 22 Nov 11

brownbread says...

Driving whilst reading a map, making a phone call, applying lipstick, unwrapping a sweet, watching a VDU/TV, smoking a cig, eating a pie, etc, etc. All should be questioned after an accident and taken into consideration with the law.

Driving without a seat belt seems to be a growning trend. Perhaps seat belts should be made of orange or red and black fabric so that they can be easily seen. In the event of a crash a driver's insurance firm should be informed that they didn't wear a seat belt. Insurers should have a massive rate for high-risk driving styles or even out-right refusal to insure.

Ordinary people need to see visual evidence that half-assed driving is more dangerous and potentially fatal, and even with that many just won't believe it enough to improve their driving technique. And some will be incapable of better driving skills. So they should be banned from driving or retake driving test at regular intervals and pay a hefty insurance premium to cover the extra risk.

A car can be a leathal weapon. Many people shouldn't be allowed to own a car let alone drive one.

If you smoke in a stationary privately- owned car you're only affecting the health of anyone in that car.
Driving whilst reading a map, making a phone call, applying lipstick, unwrapping a sweet, watching a VDU/TV, smoking a cig, eating a pie, etc, etc. All should be questioned after an accident and taken into consideration with the law. Driving without a seat belt seems to be a growning trend. Perhaps seat belts should be made of orange or red and black fabric so that they can be easily seen. In the event of a crash a driver's insurance firm should be informed that they didn't wear a seat belt. Insurers should have a massive rate for high-risk driving styles or even out-right refusal to insure. Ordinary people need to see visual evidence that half-assed driving is more dangerous and potentially fatal, and even with that many just won't believe it enough to improve their driving technique. And some will be incapable of better driving skills. So they should be banned from driving or retake driving test at regular intervals and pay a hefty insurance premium to cover the extra risk. A car can be a leathal weapon. Many people shouldn't be allowed to own a car let alone drive one. If you smoke in a stationary privately- owned car you're only affecting the health of anyone in that car. brownbread
  • Score: 0

9:57pm Tue 22 Nov 11

Michael@ClitheroeSince58 says...

At last some common sense, of course education is the best way forward with this issue, It's the way forward with many issues The Nanny State has got it all wrong, I have drove for 30+ years and have never had an accident of any kind in a car, I put this down to my motorcycling days, I learned to survive I needed to read the road a long way ahead and anticipate possible dangers. When all this fuss and bother about smoking first started yes I took part trying to stop and was happy that help was available, but it all got hijacked by the fascist element of the health brigade smoking bans etc. now I feel like a leper how I'm treated having to stand outside in the rain and cold. I suffer from anxiety and a cigarette helps me get through, but yes some good did come from all the good education I never smoke in the house and it's just common sense not to smoke in the car if children are on board. Just wish health bosses would think about what they are doing to people when they start changing laws, I could end up a criminal for smoking in my own car? how mad is that!
At last some common sense, of course education is the best way forward with this issue, It's the way forward with many issues The Nanny State has got it all wrong, I have drove for 30+ years and have never had an accident of any kind in a car, I put this down to my motorcycling days, I learned to survive I needed to read the road a long way ahead and anticipate possible dangers. When all this fuss and bother about smoking first started yes I took part trying to stop and was happy that help was available, but it all got hijacked by the fascist element of the health brigade smoking bans etc. now I feel like a leper how I'm treated having to stand outside in the rain and cold. I suffer from anxiety and a cigarette helps me get through, but yes some good did come from all the good education I never smoke in the house and it's just common sense not to smoke in the car if children are on board. Just wish health bosses would think about what they are doing to people when they start changing laws, I could end up a criminal for smoking in my own car? how mad is that! Michael@ClitheroeSince58
  • Score: 0

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