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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.

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.

MrsCakesPremonition Mon 10-Feb-14 16:52:29

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!

MrsCakesPremonition Mon 10-Feb-14 18:20:09

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?

MrsCakesPremonition Mon 10-Feb-14 18:30:42

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.

MrsCakesPremonition Mon 10-Feb-14 18:42:29

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.

BackOnlyBriefly Mon 10-Feb-14 18:45:19

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'.

PlentyOfPubeGardens Mon 10-Feb-14 21:07:57

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.

PlentyOfPubeGardens Mon 10-Feb-14 21:14:44

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.

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