Ireland are close to implementing a complete ban on smoking in cars as it would be easier to police than a ban on smoking when children are in the car.
Maybe the erosion of individual liberties should be secondary to safety (although we would argue the contrary), but surely banning smoking in cars – as Ireland appear close to doing – is a very silly route to go?
Of course, since anything that can be remotely construed as a company car is already somewhere you’re not allowed to smoke, banning smoking in private cars is, perhaps, a logical step.
The argument is that smoking in cars is detrimental to the health of children who are passengers. And such an emotional argument is hard to counter; who doesn’t want children to be as safe as possible? But where does it end?
Do we next get a ban on smoking at home if there are children in the house under 18? It would be entirely logical. And what comes next? Does the Nanny-State decide that parents are setting a bad example to their children by drinking alcohol? Would that lead to a ban on alcohol in homes with children too? And what further ‘Bad Habits’ could the state ban us from indulging in?
Ireland already has form for being smoking Nazis. They were the first country to ban smoking in bars and pubs (although it’s widely ignored, certainly in rural pubs) so it does seem likely they will legislate to ban smoking in cars altogether. They’re proposing it as a safety measure for childrens’ health, but propose a blanket ban as it is easier to police.
The Irish Times says that a ‘Tobacco Policy Review’ is being carried out by Ireland’s health minister - Dr James Reilly – and that he is ‘in favour of legislating in this area’. Sounds like another reason for UK police and local authorities to jump on the bandwagon and legislate too.
They could then add a fixed penalty for smoking in a car to that for yesterday’s tale of state interference when we learned dogs in cars should be banned.
Please, stop with the Nany-State stuff. Let us think for ourselves. Let us make our own judgements.
Even on smoking.