The British Medical Association's wrong diagnosis

Be in no doubt that we live in troubling times for liberty and scientific integrity - smoking bans constitute the most sinister assault on private property rights outside of an authoritarian regime

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No smoking on the road: are we ever nearing the criminalisation of tobacco?
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David Atherton
On 21 November 2011 10:08

It has been a busy week for defenders of smokers, after the press release from the British Medical Association (BMA) calling for the banning of smoking in cars, with or without children. 

Simon Clark of Forest , writer Ms. Patsy Nurse, author and historian Chris Snowdon, the Director General of the Institute of Economic Affairs, Mark Littlewood, and yours truly, Chairman of Freedom2Choose being invited guests on TV and radio doing our best for liberty.

Be in no doubt that the long term aim of tobacco control is the quasi criminalisation of tobacco. The next steps will be banning of smoking at home and obtaining your cigarettes on prescription from your GP.

It will be prohibition in all but name. Friedrich Von Hayek's The Road To Surfdom has never been more relevant. A bottle of claret and a fine Cuban cigar for anyone who can give me an example in a western liberal democracy where the freedom of assembly of consenting adults to consume a legal substance on private property is banned.

Yes, smoking bans in pubs and bars, and now proposed car smoking bans constitute the most sinister assault on private property rights outside of an authoritarian regime. 

What is most galling is the faith based rather than science based assertion that second hand smoke (SHS) is harmful. Firstly the ludicrous claim that a car’s occupants are exposed to 23 times more toxins than they would be in a smoky bar was very embarrassingly retracted by the BMA.

Even the anti-smokers stopped this rumour gaining notoriety. "We recommend that researchers and organizations stop using the 23 times more toxic factoid because there appears to no evidence for it in the scientific literature."

So there you have it; a supposed "respected" anti-smoking body prepared to use junk science and mistruths to bully us into smoking cessation. If the BMA are prepared to mislead what about the Department of Health or Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) et al? Can you believe a word they say?

There have been over 80 studies done into lung cancer and passive smoking and 85% say there is no correlation and the remaining 15% rarely reach scientific statistical significance. 

If you have been in a coma for the last 50 years smoking can be bad for you. However lying about the harm of SHS to the public with the express aim to "denormalise" smokers and turn them into second class citizens and social pariahs is unacceptable.

For those of you who do not smoke and possibly may even be inconvenienced by smoking, but enjoy a little tipple, you are next in the firing line.

The Royal College of Physicians said in 2007 "The passive effects of alcohol misuse are catastrophic - rape, sexual assault, domestic violence, drunk driving and street disorder- alcohol affects thousands more innocent victims than passive smoking."

The previous Chief Medical Officer Sir Liam Donaldson does not want to be left out, "...as passive smoking damages others, passive drinking was inflicting untold damage on children whose mothers drink while pregnant, or whose parents drink too much, as well as the 7,000 victims of drink drivers and 39,000 alcohol related sexual assaults.

Be in no doubt that we live in troubling times for liberty and scientific integrity.

David Atherton is Chairman of Freedom2Choose, which seeks to protect the informed choices of consenting adults on the issues of smoking

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