Friday, 4 March 2011

ASH Scotland considers second-hand smoke in the home

Today saw ASH Scotland's conference entitled Smokefree Homes and Cars, at the Dundee Hilton. Its agenda speaks pretty much for itself (but more below). ASH Scotland's work on smokefree homes has been assisted by  a National Lottery grant of £500,000, awarded in 2009 which was more than half its government grant for 2009/2010 (most recent information on ASH Scotland's finances here).

Yesterday (the 2nd) ASH Scotland released a press release on the event, which referred only to the 'smokefree homes' element. Sheila Duffy summarises future requirements as follows:
  • 'setting a national target for reducing second-hand smoke exposure in the home;
  • ensure continued funding to develop and evaluate new smoke-free home programmes at local level;
  • develop a robust monitoring and evaluation system to measure and compare effectiveness of the range of projects that are ongoing and share best practice;
  • develop further training in second-hand smoke issues amongst health professionals and others who work with families;
  • support partnership working to meet targets and pool resources; and consider implementing a public health campaign to raise the awareness of second-hand smoke in the home.'
None of these involves any change in smoking legislation, but intensive 'partnership working' with people who deliver services about smoking. And of course a funding commitment (they will need a renewal of this revenue stream) – but with lottery funding and occasional injections of cash from Cancer Research UK topping this up.

Ever wanted to know what the Big Society means? Forgive my cynicism, but it means just this: 'voluntary sector' groups can set a policy agenda, attract funding enough to pay nearly thirty salaries and organise and pay for policy implementation with limited parliamentary scrutiny. Within a few short years, our fear of secondary smoke has allowed us to abrogate responsibility for controlling the stuff, to the extent that we are now supposed to welcome 'experts' who wish to advise us about making our children and grandchildren and their friends ill from the effects of fourth hand smoke. No law is needed, we are just expected to do what the experts tell us is right. Our rights to privacy have been trumped by a perceived right to 'smokefree' air.

Just as ASH Scotland succeeded in creating smoke-free psychiatric services without resorting to changing the law, and not  unlike Honduras, where the police can be called for dealing with family smoking even though smoking is not itself a crime, government is bypassed and partnership working does the rest.

A top-down policy agenda (in the case of smoking, one that we know comes from the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control) is fulfilled, to all appearances, by 'the community' with popular support from the grassroots. I don't buy it: nothing suggests that the smoke-free agenda is anything but doctrinaire and intolerant scaremongering.


Xopher said...

Oh, I wish I was pure and sufficiently saintly but I'm not - welcome to the underclass.
These puritans may increase their influence but it's only the real people who are able to clear their effluent?
The underclass actually make things work so it might be best not to upset us any more.

Anonymous said...

It's fortunate then that they do not have lawful access to your homes without invitation or warrant, should they attempt to force entrance I have no doubt what the response from the residents of some parts of Glasgow for instance may be, it is likely to be highly entertaining! Thats assuming they have enough nerve to try it in Glasgow.

Anonymous said...

'ensure continued funding to develop and evaluate new smoke-free home programmes at local level;'

That will be their income then - I hope it is being well used to to educate their cheeeeedren who will then be able to continue their pathetic crusade.
Are any of them parents ?

Just a thought ............