Monday, 4 July 2011

Netherlands and Scotland plough different furrows

A short Dutch report tells us that the smoking ban is a far more relaxed affair in Dutch bars, with ashtrays in over half of them (note, you can still get a drink in a non-smoking environment in the Netherlands if that's what you prefer).

In Scotland further bans are still being discussed. Sheila Duffy explains in her (comment-free) blog that ASH Scotland supports a public consultation on extending the smoking ban to private cars (smoking is already banned in work vehicles) – whereas the British Medical Association has called for an overall ban on smoking while driving.

It's unusual for ASH Scotland not to bid for the most extreme action going on smoking. Ms Duffy claims that household exposure is a more important problem ('likely to be a greater source of exposure for children'), but is 'not an area for legislation'. Does this mean that she takes issue with Dr Douglas Noble's conclusion (quoted here) that:
In cars, particle concentrations are 27 times higher than in a smoker’s home and 20 times higher than in a pub, in the days when you could smoke in public places.
Even if ASH Scotland has not advocated a total ban in cars, the idea will go before legislators. It's interesting to speculate whether, in responding to the public consultation it seeks, ASH Scotland would oppose a smoking ban in cars, or whether it would simply sit on the fence.

A report and summary of last year's study on smoking in cars by NHS Greater Glasgow (with a headline designed to sensationalise the issue) can be found here (same text here with comments). Also discussed here.

We won't know the legislative programme on smoking in Scotland until after the Scottish Parliament reconvenes in September. But it won't resemble the Dutch one.

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