The mind of a zealot
is something to be marveled. Not revered, for it is nothing that does
good; but it should be marveled in the way we can semi-admire Hitler
for somehow convincing a nation that a race of people needed
termination because of his personal ideology. We do not agree with
such views, but from a distance we can appreciate the magnitude of its
rarity, and, to a certain extent, the passion behind the eyes.
First, they banned smoking on
short-distance flights. Other forms of public transportation followed
suit, as did cinemas, shops, shopping centres, and then all enclosed
public places. As put out as we felt, we were also naively content in
our belief that our private property was ours to do as see fit. Alas,
that is not the case. We ignorantly thought the battle over smoking in
forms of transportation was over, but no. We have returned to familiar
ground and now the cogs have started turning to ban smoking in cars
with children. It goes further though, if we follow Canada's example
this will not merely be cars with children present, but cars where
children may sit at any time. Be honest, who didn't think the third hand story would return to haunt us? We all knew.
The new president of the Royal
College of Paediatrics and Child Health, Professor Terence Stephenson,
is making it his mission to have this ban a reality.
On the assumption that you wouldn't pass the packet round and invite
the kids to light up, why make them breathe tobacco smoke at all?
So if we do offer them one, we can continue smoking? Seriously though, this is no line of argument. Now,
I am not advocating smoking around infants, but the issue is of
government interference. When a child is in a car, s/he instantly
becomes at risk of paralysis, death, or physical trauma. How? Crashes.
To play devil's advocate, what if the driver were so anxious about
missing a cigarette that they became distracted from the road, crashed
and seriously injured their child? Would Professor Stephenson be to
blame, or at least feel a pang of guilt?
Bringing it back a little,
when a child is in a car they are subjected to countless vehicle
emissions which have the capacity to cause harm. Moreover, they are
breathing them in vast quantities and have no choice in the matter. If
they get caught behind a truck on the motorway, or stuck in traffic, or
even stop at the lights, then the child is forced to breathe in fumes.
Surely, then, the only logical, responsible action is for the child to
be wrapped in cotton wool, with a bubble placed over his or her head, a
pure-air tube connected to ensure quality fresh air is provided at all
times, thus guaranteeing no putrid gases will be inhaled. The only
downside here, of course, is that said child will have no natural
immunity and will die prematurely. Damned if you do, damned if you
don't..... Then again, the parents can further reward Big Pharma by
purchasing lots of wonderful products to ward off infections.
Unfortunately, parents in the UK have smoked around their children for generations.
parents put me and my brothers and sisters in the back of their car,
started their three hour journey and lit up cigarette after cigarette -
often with the windows closed.
Ordinarily, people campaign
against something that affected them negatively. It is unusual to find
someone speaking out against something that he has personal experience
of and which caused him no problem. Then again, the zealot's mind is to
This would be a piece of progressive legislation and we would quickly
realise the benefits as with other extremely successful motoring
interventions - seat belts, mobile phones and drink-driving.
Call me stupid, but I really do not think comparing actions which can directly and immediately cause
the death of one or more persons is the same as an act which is doing
no harm to another individual. When you talk on a phone, one hand is
off the wheel, you are distracted and an accident can happen. Seat
belts, if you don't wear them you can be flung from the vehicle upon
impact. And drink-driving, well we all know about that one. But
smoking? What is the line of argument? "If you smoke, nothing will
happen to your passenger" "shit!"
Those of us in the medical profession, who see the results of passive
smoking first hand, need to be ready to lead and make a convincing case.
Perhaps, Terence, you can show us these results? Because God knows we've been looking high and low for them.