Those who practise medicine are with some exceptions generally treated with respect by those who don`t know them personally but have high regard for the knowledge which must be accumulated in order for the job to be done well. When such people fall from grace they attract probably more than their fair share of oprobrium. When they urge government to encroach even more on our remaining civil liberties it is adviseable to look carefully at their reasoning and their solutions because many of them are still of the opinion that we patients are subservient to their opinions based upon that font of knowledge alluded to above.
A 200 page report on the health impacts of passive smoking on children has concluded that smoking should be banned in cars. No ifs, no buts, no caveats.........and the consequence of such ban would render anybody breaking it a criminal if our fine undermanned police forces had the time and personel to spare to stop them whilst driving. Perhaps they would catch them on their mobile phone at the same time; after all one can talk and smoke simultaneously. That`s called multi tasking. In order to justify such a cavalier approach to law and order, health and civil liberty the report has some statistics. If anybody has read some of my backblogs s/he will appreciate that I am just a little bit sceptical of numbers thrown around to suit political purposes.
The writers contend that 300,000 GP consultations and 9,500 hospital admissions for children are caused by passive smoking. There are about 12,000,000 children under eighteen years old in UK. so that means that one child in forty has visited a GP once in the year with this possible complaint. There are approximately 30,000 GPs in UK. So from another point of view each one has seen fewer than one child a month with the supposed problem. They also have decided as mentioned above that about 9,500 hospital admissions for children are due to passive smoking. That is unfortunate for the kids concerned and their uncaring, lock them up families but it refers to only one child in 1,200. I`m not going to bother with varied comparisons eg children referred for dog bites, sun burn or any one of dozens of more spurious statistics to show what overbearing unhealthy interference with individual responsibilities all this is. Without even debating the civil liberties arguments that would subject a single person or multiple adults to criminality the nonsense of this proposal must be seen as what it is; an encouragement to take another slice of our lives and subject it to the salami principle.