26 Mar 2010

Social Pariah...Moi?

It appears that I have become the scourge of society. Not me personally - I'm not currently living in a hollowed out volcano planning to unleash my super-mega death ray on an incredulous and totally deserving society. Not until I get that bank loan at any rate.

No, what makes me the social equivalent to a Pol Pot memorial awards dinner is that I'm a smoker.

The current societal view of a smoker is that we are nefarious outcasts bent on polluting the whole of society with our tobacco based addictions. Scuttling around in hastily constructed 'smoking areas' outside of pubs planning the overthrow of the Government. If there is a child in the surrounding area we will no doubt chain said child to the ground before forcing them to name every county in the country and laughing when they forget Rutland.

We are the new hate figures. Wreathed in the gray-blue smoke of pure, unadulterated evil.

This is clearly absurd. Yet smokers are increasingly penalised through this country's obsession with criminalising every possible sector of population.

This has come to a head this week with the proposal that smoking should be banned in every car. I could understand if this was for safety reasons. Using a mobile is rightly banned due to the distraction it creates. Eating is a bit of a gray area but I assume popping a sweet into your mouth when behind the wheel is kind of okay whereas consuming a roasted boar in the style of Astrix the Gaul would most likely end up in a humorous yet ultimately punitive court case. Likewise, playing squash, performing major heart surgery on a stoat, receiving oral sex, fishing, whittling, constructing Airfix models, dancing the Gay Gordon, watching cheap Dutch porn, and reading Dr Faustus are all banned when driving.

The thing is safety isn't the cited reason. No, it's to protect children from breathing in smoke.

Now this I don't really get. If this proposal ever becomes law (which I admit is unlikely) I will be banned from smoking in my car because I may cause a child to breath in second hand smoke. Ignoring for the moment the fact that I never drive children in my car, don't have children and don't plan on ever having any children I would be barred from making a personal choice in my own private space.


The justification for this was that police may not be able to see if there was a child in the car so it's best to just ban it all together.

Now I respect the police. They do a tough job and get a lot of stick. But what utter cretins must they be employing if they can't see a person in a car. I mean, are there only boss-eyed coppers on patrol now? Do they struggle to differentiate between a child and, oh I don't know, a seat with no one sat in it? Do they have to actually be certified blind to get called up to the force?

That's not to say that I don't think that children should be protected from the smoke of an adult. I do - I smoke as a choice, I don't have the right to inflict potential illness on another person, especially a child.

Likewise, I shouldn't be told where and when I can and can't consume a perfectly legal substance. It's just not cricket.

To this end I propose a radical rethink on this issue. Don't ban smoking in cars, ban children in cars.

Lets look at the pros and cons.

Pro - children are sticky and will infect your plush new car seats with a cocktail of snot, sweets, saliva, Farley's Rusks, milk, juice and extreme cases excrement.
Con - children have to get places to do children stuff.
Pro - children are really noisy and can distract even the best of drivers.
Con - people get funny about leaving their children by the side of the road.
Pro - you won't have to listen to 'are we there yet', 'I'm bored' or that fucking 'wheels on the bus' song again.
Con - no longer will you have an excuse for playing DVDs in the car.
Pro - fat children will be forced to walk their pudgy arses to school thereby loosing weight.
Con - car seat manufacturers will go bankrupt.
Pro - we will never have to see one of those self-indulgent 'Baby on Board' stickers again (yeah, well fucking done - you managed to procreate).
Con - ...nope, can't think of any more cons.
Pro - less inner city mums will feel compelled to drive what can only be described a scale version of the Challenger 2 main battle tank the 0.5 of a mile from their house to the school that their insufferable offspring attend.
Pro - I don't have to change my behaviour to conform to a frankly ridiculous and unenforceable law.

If smoking is this much of an issue just ban it. Totally. Make it a class A substance. Really. Force the whole of the nation to go cold turkey.

Can you imagine the consequences...

A whole nation shaking with withdrawal symptoms, licking the shelves in Boots for the trace remains of the nicotine replacement therapy patches. Perhaps we'll all make illicit trips to Amsterdam to smoke in cafes. Soon HM Revenue and Customs will be uncovering a Marlboro Mule trafficking system where large quantities of tobacco is smuggled into the country wrapped in condoms in an Eastern European's stomach.

Of course this is never going to happen. The Government makes far too much money on the duty from the sale of tobacco products.

But if they did bring in a total ban, everyone would know where they stand.

At the very least it won't be outside in the rain.


  1. You smoke?!? GASP.... why are you allowed near a computer? Shouldn't they have banned to some designated country by now?

    Also, "Baby on Board" stickers make me think, "There's an idiot on board too, and it isn't the one year old." Of course, I say that now but if I ever have kids I'll probably get one and be like, "Whaaaa? People should slow down, don't they know there's a baby here?!?"

  2. I agree with Holly Renee.. Baby on Board stickers make me want to puke. What difference does that make?! Are we going to be extra cautious just because now know a baby is on board?!

    Maybe they should look at this way.. Smoking should only be banned in Mommy cars such as a mini vans?! I think it's ridiculous that why would take that away from you. Next thing you know Gays' will be told they are banned from riding in cars because they are affecting other peoples lives! Ridiculous.

  3. In California, it's illegal to smoke in a car with a child under 16 in it, but a cop can't pull you over for the offense -- they can only issue a ticket if they've pulled you over for another reason and witness the smoking. Presumably this is because it's hard to estimate age in a moving vehicle, and how dang embarrassing would it be to pull over a dude for smoking around his not-so-studly 25-year-old nephew?!

    As a very, very recent former smoker, I'm of two minds about the villainization of smokers. Obviously I think we should all have the right to ingest whatever legal substances we'd like and think it's ludicrous that smokers are looked on with a disdain usually reserved for pedophilic ventriloquists. At the same time, I think passers-by's rights to not be forced to breathe in my smoke is just as valid as my right to smoke in the first place.

    And while lots of smokers are very good about not smoking around children, or in doorways to shops and at bus stops and other places non-smokers can't avoid, some jerkface smokers ruin it for the rest of us by puffing smoke in the face of the universe. Sadly, all the regulations are designed to weed those bastards out, and we good guys take a lot of collateral flak.

  4. I am opposed to smoking with children in a car, as I was subjected to it as a child. However I smoke in my car all the time. Do you know how many people I affect with it? none. Very rarely do I drive anyone anywhere, and when I do they are smokers too. If I am in someone else's car, I ask before I light up, if they dont want it, I dont smoke, it is that simple.

    On the vein of smoking where it can affect others, yes I know that for some people the smell of tobacco smoke is heinous, but they dont realise something. Just because you can smell it, doesn't mean it can hurt them. If I am within 5 metres of someone, and light up and they have a problem with it, I will move. However if I start smoking and then they arrive, they can move their own lazy arses. And if you are going to tell me to move for smoking, I expect you to tell everyone else who lights up too.

  5. @ Holly and Missy, yep 'Baby on Board' signs just make me think that you've forgotten to put a condom on and are now covering up your mistake by repeatedly shouting about your child. Also, I'm so busy looking at the sticker and thinking 'what a nob' that I'm more likely to forget I'm driving and ram the car.

    @ That kind of Girl, I agree - people are arseholes. But then, people crash cars or have smelly feet or keep you awake all night by having really loud sex next door and I don't see these things banned.

    @Mewtwo, you made me remember an Eddie Izzard gag about smokers being more polite than racists. A smoker will always ask 'mind if I smoke?' whereas a racist will just inflict their views upon you.

    I remember having a sly fag at lunchtime a few years ago and an old lady walked passed. She stopped, looked at me and said 'disgusting habit - you should be ashamed'. She then coughed up a hunk of phlegm and spat it on the ground. She left me startled, bemused and somewhat disgusted.

  6. I can't believe I've been reading this blog and never once, until today, realized that this is where the cancer that will surely kill me when I'm 82 came from:

    Intercontinental cyberhandsmoke.

    You black-lunged sonofabastardbitch, Duke-- I'll see you in hell.

  7. While I do totally agree that it is ridiculous to place a total ban on smoking in cars, I just wanted to point out that the 'Baby on Board' signs are so that if that car is in a crash the firemen know there's a smaller body they might not be able to see inside to cut out. Not that all people who have the signs know this. They are arses. Especially when they have those 'DiVa dRiVeR on Board!!!!' signs as well.

  8. That's retarded. But as you said, hardly enforceable, so just keep doing what you're doing. Dutch porn. mm.

  9. I think smoking is completely gross, and just.... AGGRAVATING, but even I don't think it should be banned in cars. Most people aren't ignorant enough to smoke in the car with small children. Just leave the law as is!

  10. People go crazy over smoking. It's their car, let them do whatever. Here smoking is banned in malls but allowed in clubs. And special section in restaurants. Although I'm not a pro smoking, I'm not obsessively against it either.