Opinion: One ban after the other

POSTED: 10/27/11 12:23 PM

The world seems to be going up in flames with one ban after the other. In St. Maarten our good friend David McGregor is peeved because he is no longer allowed to go shark-fishing. In many places around the world smokers are driven further and further with their back against the wall (we suspect David doesn’t like that either). They’re not allowed to smoke in the workplace, they’re not allowed to smoke in trains and air planes, and in New York they’re not even allowed to smoke in parks.
Now the Republic of Ireland, a place where people take pride in getting drunk at every opportunity they get, smoking in cars might soon be prohibited. It will be the first country in the world to come up with such a ban.
The Irish Ministry of Public Health is considering a ban on smoking in cars that carry kids below the age of sixteen. That seems to be an idea full of pitfalls, because how do you define the age of a kid? What’s the difference between a kid that’s fifteen years and eleven months, and a kid that just celebrated its sixteenth birthday yesterday?
This is simply not practical, and by the time the Health Ministry realizes this, it will go for a complete ban on smoking in cars.
The Irish are a proud people. They love their country as much as they used to love circumventing drinking laws in the past, and the smokers among them will certainly feel that the government is violating their privacy with the ban.
Don’t think that the Irish idea is a fad that will disappear under public protests. The country was the first in Europe to ban smoking in bars, pubs and restaurants. Smoking in cabs, company y vehicles and vans is already prohibited because these vehicles are considered work places.
The private car, that’s another animal altogether. The Irish Cancer Foundation is happy with the initiative, saying that adults have the freedom to choose where they light up and that children cannot escape from a smoke-filled car.
We suspect that executing this ban will be a big pain in the neck, not only because of control-issues, but also because there is no incentive for stubborn adult smokers to comply.
Okay, reasonable people would argue that smoking in a car with coughing kids on the backseat is immoral, but some smokers simply are not reasonable. What’s in it for them? They get nervous when they don’t get their fix, and they do not care enough about their children to abstain during a drive.
Smoking parents who do care about their kids don’t need such a ban, because they would not smoke in the car anyway, not with their offspring present.
So what will happen with this lofty idea? Even if the Irish government implements the ban, it won’t make much difference for most smokers, because they will keep doing what they want to do. They will simply hide their smokes when they see a cop.
Now if somebody came up with an idea that rewarded smokers for not smoking in their car, the Irish would have a remote chance of success. A ban alone makes smoking in cars illegal and therefore, for at least some daredevils, more attractive.

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Comments (1)


  1. David says:

    No he is not peeved he is infuriated by the injustice of it. Those who fish in a reprehensible manner deserve to be banned, locked up, fined shamed and named.
    I will always put my name to articles or letters about my fishing because I am proud of the manner in which I was taught from an early age to be a conservation minded angler.
    Minister Myers was right to put a temporary ban on Shark fishing. Now introduce proper rules or laws to prevent the morons from killing our shark.