To think that you don't not pass a new law just because it would be difficult to enforce?

(51 Posts)
Dollslikeyouandme Mon 10-Feb-14 13:47:19

Sorry if this has been done, related to smoking with children in the car.

A lot of debate around this at the moment. I'm hearing a lot that there'd be no point in making it illegal as it would be difficult to police.

Surely that's not the point? And something I've never understood.

If something is against the law then at least someone can be pulled over if seen smoking, fined or whatever. It will become much more frowned upon and rightly so.

I remember being choked in the car with my dad smoking, still makes me sick thinking about it. Wish it had been against the law then.

bodygoingsouth Mon 10-Feb-14 13:50:34

yes agree op I too remember a vile journey to London from
the midlands with my parents and gran all smoking.

used to hate it on buses and in cinemas too.

guess people said wearing seatbelt was unenforceable but the law changes behaviour and that's what's needed.

Dollslikeyouandme Mon 10-Feb-14 13:57:57

I'd actually go a step further and ban smoking around children altogether, even I'm homes.

Sure there's lots of things we do that are bad for us, and I'm not hysterical about adults smoking if they choose, I smoked in my early twenties, but smoking around children who have no choice is just one of those things that I find utterly gross and unnecessary.

squeakytoy Mon 10-Feb-14 14:09:18

How would you enforce it though? It would just end up costing the tax payer a fortune and take away money that is needed for other use.

Sadoldbag Mon 10-Feb-14 14:09:26

I think if you smoke in the care with your child especially a baby your a rat bag simples

Dollslikeyouandme Mon 10-Feb-14 14:11:56

Probably being thick but why would it cost the taxpayer money?

It would be enforced the same as driving using a mobile phone, if you're seen you're stopped and fined.

I'd also hope that making it illegal might make people think twice.

PandaFeet Mon 10-Feb-14 14:13:55

I think that its a dangerous move. To start dictating what people can and can't do in their own personal space is wrong, and where will it stop?

Any parent who smokes in their car with kids present is irresponsible, but this law won't stop some parents from being irresponsible.

I support banning smoking in cars. It's just as much of a distraction as using a phone, children or not.

But how the hell would you police smoking in the home? You're on very Orwellian ground when you start banning a legal product in people's homes.

CrohnicallyFarting Mon 10-Feb-14 14:17:13

panda but we already have some laws that dictate what you can and can't do in your own personal space because it infringes on someone else- such as not leaving small children alone in the house when it puts them at risk.

Enb76 Mon 10-Feb-14 14:17:28

It's a bad law if it cannot be enforced as it makes criminals out of people who are otherwise law-abiding making it easier for them to commit more illegal behaviour on the basis of "well, who's going to catch me". They know they're not going to get caught so they carry on. If there is a possibility of being caught then, the behaviour you are trying to target decreases.

You see it with mobile phone use in cars. For the first couple of months after the introduction of the new law, I saw virtually no-one on a mobile phone in a car, now I see it all the time. People know they won't get caught so why not do it. It is a pointless law as it doesn't stop those who habitually use their phones in their cars and it makes people who wouldn't ordinarily think "WTF, everyone else does it so it's not going to matter if I do".

Dollslikeyouandme Mon 10-Feb-14 14:20:25

Then surely the same wpuld apply to speeding

Dollslikeyouandme Mon 10-Feb-14 14:21:28

Posted too soon, surely the same applies to speeding, you only get caught if you're seen, I see people speeding all the time.

Dollslikeyouandme Mon 10-Feb-14 14:23:27

I think it can be enforced as much as a lot of other crimes, people get away with things all the time, speeding, drugs, shoplifting, fly tipping.

scaevola Mon 10-Feb-14 14:25:22

An unenforceable law would be a bad law.

But I don't see this as unenforceable. Just like using mobiles when driving, or not wearing your seatbelt, if you're seen you get done.

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Mon 10-Feb-14 14:26:28

I do think pragmatically you can't have a law that cannot be enforced and this would be tricky. Anyone who is very distracted by smoking while driving would already be committing an offence (ie careless driving). So the offence here is not to ban smoking and driving but to ban smoking in a car whether or not you're driving but only if there is also a child in the car. It would be really difficult to to draft and enforce in my view.

Dollslikeyouandme Mon 10-Feb-14 14:26:35

Personally I wouldn't use my phone in the car, obviously I'm aware that it's potentially dangerous, but might I chance it for a quick call if I'm running late. No because I wouldn't risk the fine and the humiliation of bring pulled over. So laws do work I think.

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Mon 10-Feb-14 14:30:18

Of course laws do have deterrent effect and there could be a benefit from this even if not readily enforceable.

squeakytoy Mon 10-Feb-14 14:30:51

Taxes pay for the police, courts, councils.. So of course we would pay.

PandaFeet Mon 10-Feb-14 14:30:54

but we already have some laws that dictate what you can and can't do in your own personal space because it infringes on someone else- such as not leaving small children alone in the house when it puts them at risk.

There is no actual minimum age of when a child can be left alone though. If a 4 year old was left in their house and someone called the police, they could be charged with neglect, but not specifically for leaving them. For older children, its at SS discretion based on the parents view of how responsible their child is.

There are very very few laws which cover things happening in personal space. That's for a reason. We are not a nanny state, nor should we strive to become one.

jacks365 Mon 10-Feb-14 14:32:33

The mobile ban hasn't worked it is very common to see drivers on the phone and if we can't manage that one properly then we have no chance with a cigarette ban, it's easier to prove a mobile was used than that a cigarette someone dropped was smoked while driving.

PandaFeet Mon 10-Feb-14 14:37:33

What they need to do is ban cigarettes. If they are worried about the devastating effects of smoking then ban the root cause.

But my guess is, the govt would lose too much tax revenue, so they won't do that. They will just cause innocent people more inconvenience.

Car smells of smoke? Kids in the car? Yeah, I smoked in the car before I pickd them up officer. So unless an officer actually SEEs you smoking, how can you be charged?

Bourdic Mon 10-Feb-14 14:38:58

I remember 23 years ago when the law was changed to make raping your wife illegal - I also remember --utterly stupid Conservative--MPs sneering about ' a camera in every marital bedroom' . What a ridiculous idea about laws and personal space - I killed you in my own house so don't tell me what I can and can't do in my personal space!!

PandaFeet Mon 10-Feb-14 14:42:37

Murder is a crime. No matter where it happens.

Rape is a crime. No matter where it happens.

Smoking cigarettes is NOT a crime.

Davsmum Mon 10-Feb-14 14:46:32

I can't see it working unless they make smoking illegal.

Like Jacs365 said - banning the use of mobiles whilst driving has not stopped people doing that.

Personally - I think using a mobile when driving is far more dangerous that smoking in the car - with or without children.

Dollslikeyouandme Mon 10-Feb-14 16:33:10

But laws don't stop people doing all types of crimes, people still murder, steal, rape, vandalise, every single day. Does that mean they should all be legal because the law doesn't stop people doing it?

No of course not, because most people don't do these things because they have a conscience, they know it's wrong, we need laws for the people who won't do the right thing by themselves.

No cigarettes aren't illegal, but it's illegal to smoke in public places, it's illegal to smoke in work vehicles, so why not in cars with children?

So the mobile phone law doesn't stop some people doing it anyway, does that mean we should make it legal?

DanceParty Mon 10-Feb-14 16:41:48

It will never happen - and if it does, it will be unenforceable.

It will be just one more thing that the Police have 'to do' when they should be concentrating on other things that are already against the law.

Jux Mon 10-Feb-14 16:47:21

If a law is unenforceable it is a bad law. Poorly thought up, poorly executed and will result in nothing worth having.

If we can enforce a law against mobile phone use in the car, then it should be possible to enforce a law against smoking in cars.

Presumably it is possible to develop a breathalyzer for smokers.

People used to say that it wouldn't be possible to enforce a law forcing people to use seatbelts. The law was implemented, enforced and now the culture has changed so that most drivers use seatbelts (although there are still plenty of idiots who don't).

harticus Mon 10-Feb-14 17:01:28

People in workplaces are protected by law from the effects of 2nd hand smoke but babies and children trapped in vehicles with smokers aren't.

Of course it should be illegal.

There will be the usual amount of moaning but it will cause a cultural shift over time.

Nobody has the "right" to inflict the toxins in fag smoke on children strapped into an enclosed space.

PandaFeet Mon 10-Feb-14 17:11:22

No cigarettes aren't illegal, but it's illegal to smoke in public places, it's illegal to smoke in work vehicles, so why not in cars with children?

Because its taking something that is legal, and making it illegal in a private place.

That is risky ground.

Mobile phone use while driving is illegal, and as a PP said, smoking while driving could be seen as careless driving. But a passenger in a car using a mobile phone isn't illegal. But a passenger smoking in a car will be.

The problem is that cigarettes are lethal. They are carcinogenic. There is funding being thrown at stop smoking campaigns left right and centre. And let's not forget the cost to the NHS of treating the illnesses cigarettes cause.

But the govt aren't doing anything about that are they? They aren't banning cigarettes, which is a logical thing to do. They are talking about passing a piece of legislation that sees something which is perfectly legal be turned into a crime at the governments discretion. It will be setting a precident.

If they gave a shit about the health of our children more than they cared about money, they wouldn't need to ban cigarettes in cars, because they would be illegal everywhere.

PandaFeet Mon 10-Feb-14 17:13:18

And ofcourse, if the government shouts "think of the babies" they will get support.

Sometimes I despair.

DanceParty Mon 10-Feb-14 17:14:17

If we can enforce a law against mobile phone use in the car,

But, but, but we can't, can we.......^^ it is NOT enforceable judging by the number of people I see STILL using their mobile phones whilst driving!

Over 500,000 drivers have points on their license for using a mobile phone. That's approx 1.5% of drivers.

Jux Mon 10-Feb-14 18:23:35

And what percentage is that of drivers who do use their mobiles while driving?

hackmum Mon 10-Feb-14 18:26:58

I see your point, OP, but I do think you have to take a pragmatic view sometimes. I agree with DanceParty - I often see people using their mobile phone in the car.

Actually, I'm neutral on this, because I think if it might have an impact I would probably support it. I just don't know whether it would have an impact or not.

hackmum Mon 10-Feb-14 18:28:23

And panda, imagine trying to police an all-out smoking ban. Ever heard of Prohibition?

Small. Probably 2-3%.
But then again we only catch and convict a very small number of rapists, but I personally don't think that the answer to that is to shrug and say laws against rape are unenforceable so we better not have any.

Rommell Mon 10-Feb-14 18:37:50

Some of these posts are great - smokers are on a par with rapists, are murderers, have children who are 'trapped' in cars being forced to breathe in toxins etc. Way to go to make yourselves sound reasonable.

PandaFeet Mon 10-Feb-14 18:40:24

imagine trying to police an all-out smoking ban. Ever heard of Prohibition?

I imagine it to be similar to policing the use of cannibis or other illegal drugs.

But, if cigarettes aren't being banned, despite the huge amount of evidence on the damage they do, then perhaps all drugs should be legalised. More tax revenue for the govt and we can just get the overstretched police forces to ensure that no drugs are being used in cars where children are present.

I didn't say that smokers are on a par with rapists hmm.
But we have lots of laws that are hard to enforce effectively - it doesn't mean that the laws shouldn't exist.

I think it would be better not to smoke in a car. I never used to light up in lifts either or restaurants because it would have been inconsiderate. That was long before they starting making new laws all over the place. It was just common sense and courtesy.

However if you like the principle that anything that is better/safer should have a law making you do it then presumably you approve of the UAE making breastfeeding compulsory?

I expect they said "think of the babies!" when they came up with that one.

Do you really want every single decision spelt out by laws? If so I can think of others we could have.

Any car journey with kids in the car that is not absolutely essential is an unnecessary risk to their lives. We could have people fill in something like a flight plan for every trip to see if it was justified.

Drinking alcohol is dangerous so we could make that a crime too. How many people were in drink driving accidents last year? If there were no alcohol at all there'd be no drink driving.

What about chocolate? Eating chocolate and getting overweight is bad for you and can kill you eventually. Obesity puts extra stress on the NHS so we could either ban it or have a rationing system where you sign for a certain amount.

How much exercise do your kids get? There could be laws spelling it out and arresting parents whose kids spent a rainy day in front of the TV.

That one would be unenforceable too, but let's not let that stop us.

PandaFeet Mon 10-Feb-14 18:46:39

I agree.

However, children who are exposed to cigarette smoke in cars are more than likely exposed to it in their homes too. I realise that the confined space of the car makes it something like 23% more toxic, but I really think this proposed law is totally missing the point.

Which is why I can't see it as anything more than a means of setting a precident.

PandaFeet Mon 10-Feb-14 18:49:48

That was to MrsCakes post.

But I agree with BackOnlyBriefly too.

Dollslikeyouandme Mon 10-Feb-14 19:41:00

I don't think anyone is comparing smokers to murderers and rapists, just pointing out that even with such crimes, the law still doesn't stop it happening.

I'm not sure if smoking around children is comparable to some of the other unhealthy things which we do. I take the point on board, I don't think saying it's unacceptable to smoke in a confined space with a child means we're a nanny state, I just think it shows we're moving with the times. Things do change over time and smoking around children is now socially unacceptable, I'd hope a law would simply reinforce this message. I don't think it's comparable to a bar of chocolate or a day without exercise. One bar of chocolate isn't going to hurt you, even one bar each day. One cigarette being inhaled by the poor kids in that back is bloody horrible.

My poor cousin has asthma and his mum smokes near him, he sits there coughing and all she says is 'it never did me any harm'. A bar of chocolate would not be the same.

I just don't get the 'it would be difficult to enforce so no point'.

We had quite a good thread on this a week or so ago (not having a pop at you for starting another thread but worth a read - here)

As a few wise people on that thread said, we'll end up in the ludicrous situation where it's legal to buy fags but not legal to smoke them anywhere.

The honest thing to do would be to ban smoking altogether. That would be far easier to police than all these 'ban by a thousand cuts' rules because they just wouldn't be sold anywhere. That won't happen and we all know why. Duplicitous shit.

If you want to know where 'think of teh childrun' ends up, see here. Be afraid - smokers are convenient scapegoats right now but it will be you next.

The original claim was that smoking in a car exposed passengers to second hand smoke at 23 times the level found in a smoky bar. This turned out to be bollocks - the BMA have now backtracked and said it's 11 times. This is still dodgy science.

Links here and here.

Dollslikeyouandme Mon 10-Feb-14 22:25:06

With regards to the link, pregnancy is a different debate likely to open a can of worms over who takes priority, woman or unborn.

Smoking is completely different when we're talking about children who are here and basic common sense and decency.

Mia4 Mon 10-Feb-14 23:51:25

I don't know about unenforceable, I don't think it will make any difference though even if the law is past because someone has to see them doing it. And, quite honestly, most Police will tell you they have enough to do without another thing on top.

If someone wants to smoke in their car with kids in it, knowing the possibilities and dangers and what they are exposing the child to then a possible fine won't do anything. Same for people who use their mobile with kids in the car.

All that happens is when they go past a police car they put the hand holding the phone cigarette out of sight. I've seen it happen many a time when younger.

Mia4 Mon 10-Feb-14 23:52:00

Actually people who use their mobile full stop.

Davsmum Tue 11-Feb-14 08:48:21

All of the people I know who smoke never smoke in the house whether they have children or not.
They do smoke in the car on their own but never when the children are in the car.

Smoking in the house would have to be banned too - and that would be difficult to enforce.
They may as well make smoking tobacco illegal and be done with it.

CaptainGrinch Tue 11-Feb-14 08:58:25

If you make laws that aren't enforced, people break them because there are no consequences.

People get into the mindset that the law is an ass & can be ignored.

Maybe they step up the level of "ignoring" i.e. - "No one's ever stopped me from smoking in my car, using my phone - maybe I will have that third pint...." or "I won't need to put her in the car seat for that short journey"....

Laws need to be enforced and enforceable. I've said before, but if I was a smoker, I'd make bloody sure I had a (empty) car seat in my car at all times when I was smoking (even if I didn't have kids) just to make a point. Every time Plod pulled me over for smoking in my own car with a car seat it'd prove my point.

If they're that fussed about the evils of smoking, they'd ban it - but they get far too much income from it....

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