Pants on Fire!

Shocker! ASH tell lies......

It seems the desire for outdoor smoking bans is the next big thing.

The BBC reported some "doctors" moaning for a playground ban. (Also in cars) 24/03/2010
The Yorkshire Post reports on the idea being touted in Hull. 08/01/2010
A London Charity had a petition for it. 22/07/2010
There is a Facebook group
Even New York and Melbourne want a piece of the action.

However, all things considered, my favourite is this piece from Wales Online.

I've cherry picked a few passages for your perusal:

Call for public play area smoking ban
Sep 21 2010 by Madeleine Brindley, Western Mail

SMOKING should be banned from all outdoor playgrounds in Wales in a bid to protect children’s health, a charity said yesterday.
ASH Wales has called on all councils to make parks and playgrounds smoke-free environments.
The law currently bans smoking from all enclosed public places but there are no limits on smoking outdoors.
You know what to expect when you read the words, "a charity" in an anti smoking article. ASH. The biggest purveyors of lies and misinformation to ever darken our world. And they are certainly keeping to their high standards in this article.

Launching the ASH Wales campaign, Tanya Buchanan, the charity’s chief executive, said a ban on smoking around outdoor play areas would help prevent children thinking of smoking as “normal”. A survey for the charity has suggested three out of four adults agreed with the idea. “When children see adults smoking in a family-friendly public place it normalises smoking, making children more likely to try it themselves. The perception that tobacco use is normal is one factor that encourages adolescent tobacco use.
Smoking is normal. It's a perfectly legal activity undertaken by consenting adults.
You notice they supply results of a survey, three out of four adults, but no mention of who was surveyed or how many. Not even a source. I found this this PDF on ASH Wales website. It refers to a YouGov poll in March 2010 but offers no further information.

Without details of the numbers polled, demographic mix or the questions asked, the results can be safely ignored. ASH quoted details of another YouGov poll when David Nuttall questioned the smoking ban in pubs and clubs. They said that 80% of the population were in favour of the ban. The actual results show only 23% of the respondents "Strongly agreeing" with a further 27% "Tending to agree". That's 50% agreeing with the ban. The other 30% have been made up by adding the "Neither support nor oppose", "Tend to oppose" and "Don't knows" to the agree category. Employing tricks like this means ASH are not to be trusted.

“Making parks smoke-free will protect our children from developing health problems from breathing in second-hand smoke because, when you smoke, so does everyone else.”
Not true. Second hand smoke outdoors cannot possibly result in heath problems as it's much too diluted. You would have to breath smoke directly at a persons face for them to ingest a significant amount.
Other atmospheric pollutants such as car exhaust fumes are much more concentrated outdoors, and even then, not to amounts significant enough to cause health problems unless in a particularly polluted city centre.
Figures suggest children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of second-hand smoke – more than 20,000 cases of lower respiratory tract infections, 120,000 cases of middle ear disease, 22,000 new cases of wheeze and asthma and 200 cases of bacterial meningitis are associated with tobacco smoke every year in the UK.
And it has been estimated 9,500 children are admitted to hospital every year in the UK due to second-hand smoke.
Again we have list of random figures. No sources provided for any of this data. 9500 children admitted to hospital due to second hand smoke? That should be quite easy to verify. Lets have a look.

I don't have a huge list of medical texts and references so I went to old faithful, Google and Wikipedia.
I did a Google search on, "children admitted to hospital due to second hand smoke".

I got about six good hits on the first page before it started to go off topic. All these articles were either vested interest groups or newspapers quoting ASH (9,500 admissions) or the Royal College of Physicians (17,000 admissions). I found no actual admissions data from medical references or hospitals:

Cancer Research UK A study by the Royal College of Physicians showed that about 17,000 children in the UK are admitted to hospital every year because of illnesses caused by second-hand smoke.
The Times Online: Passive smoking results in more than 300,000 GP consultations for children and about 9,500 hospital admissions.
UK Faculty of Public Health: Thousands of children are admitted to hospital every year as a result of [...] secondhand smoke
Also Smokefree Surrey, Daily Mail, Clean Air, all quoting 17,000 and 9,500 admissions.

I would have thought that if the data quoted by ASH was correct, actual hospital admissions data would be available online to back it up. I tried a different search to test my theory:

I did a Google search on, "children admitted to hospital due to ". After all the predictable newspaper articles about the "epidemic" of drunken children, I found HES online. It provides data on all hospital admission going back to 1998.

I took a while trawling though all this but I can now confirm, there have been no hospital admissions due to second hand smoke.

None. Nada. Zip. F&$k all.

I wanted to try and find out if SHS has ever been quoted as a contributing factor in admission but my brain was hurting after reading all that data. As we know that SHS has never been quoted as a cause of death or contributory to death on any death certificate, I think it's safe to assume that it isn't a factor in hospital admissions at all.

“Children can’t always move away from other people’s smoke, and seeing adults smoke only encourages them to do the same. It is also unfair to the majority of park users who are non-smokers.
Adults do a lot of things that children should not do. It's part of being an adult. Only good parenting can prevent children taking up smoking themselves. If they choose to do so anyway, when they reach adulthood, then so be it. We cannot live as children ourselves in order to protect children. This is an adult world, not Never Never Land.
As for unfairness to other park users, the only justifiable complaint they could have is that they don't like the smell. As long as smokers are curteous, and most of them are, then there can be no problem. At least no real problem.
“I will be writing to Cardiff council to ask it to implement tobacco-free policies around playground equipment, playing fields and sporting grounds and that events run or sponsored by Cardiff council are smoke-free. This isn’t difficult to enforce – erecting signage around these playing grounds will act as a deterrent and is mainly self-policing.”
As we have seen though, none of this will be legally enforceable. They will then want to move onto the "next step" of legislation and fines, all for an activity that, for all intents and purposes, is harmless to those who do not smoke themselves.
“Smoking litter makes our parks and public spaces look dirty and uninviting and cause long-term damage to the environment. Our children deserve a clean, safe place to play.”
I would suggest bins.
"The legislation to ban smoking in public places was groundbreaking, however it is everybody’s responsibility to ensure that much more is done to protect children from the health risks associated with second hand smoke."
For groundbreaking read, divisive, draconian, harmful and unnecessary. Now more adults smoke and drink at home because they are unwelcome in pubs they have frequented for years, their kids are at even more "risk" from secondhand smoke.

Not to worry though. We can count on the righteous. They will target cars and homes as well as parks, all for the sake of the kiddies, just as long as the public money keeps rolling in.


George Speller said...

Anonymous said...

Beware of Geeks bearing GIFs said...