Monday, 29 July 2013

Proposed Smoking (Children in Vehicles) (Scotland) Bill: Consultation document published.

You can find the consultation document here. Questions are near the back and the deadline is 5 pm on 30 August 2013.

As one might expect the document makes case for a law criminalising the act of smoking in a car where people under 16 are present, applicable to people 16 years and over. It is supported with statements from health charities and (unlike the consultation on removing the smoking ban exemption in mental health facilities that took place in 2009), this one is at least referenced. However the whole document is shamelessly partisan, and just a little illogical accepting both the doctrinaire idea that there is 'no safe level' of passive smoke exposure, and guidance set by WHO or the EPA as permissible exposure.

I haven't yet read this in detail but note their mention the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) twenty-four hour guideline of 35 µg/m³ for particulate matter. The line of argument adopted claims that the EPA standard applies to concentrations during any time period. I believe the arguments that Michael J. McFadden puts forward here demolishes this argument effectively, showing that the EPA would not recognise values as collected in the research cited in evidence as evidence that standards had been breached, because the least concentrated particulate levels have to be averaged out over 24 hours.

1 comment:

Michael J. McFadden said...

I wanted to add something to my earlier thoughts from some recent research done by a Professor Fernando Wilson. (

Taking Dr. Wilson's figures for the dangers of text messaging and comparing them to dilution-corrected EPA figures for lung cancer dangers, one would find that driving in a car with the driver engaging in one texting episode per hour is actually more than 13,000 times as "dangerous" riding in a car with someone lighting up and smoking a cigarette every hour.

So in terms of "dangers" and "appropriate punishments" if a driver were fined a hundred dollars for engaging in a text message while driving with a child in the car, then the appropriate fine for smoking a cigarette with a child in a car would be slightly less than a single penny.

Alternatively we could say that 13,000 times the police resources and budget should be allocated to text phone enforcement as to smoking in cars enforcement.

Of course that's only if we want to be rational and fair.