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Wednesday, 10 October 2012

What Nightmares May Come

Do you recall this vitally important blog post by Anna Raccoon? I'll give you the salient points in case you missed it:
The Department of Health is concerned that fully competent adults, who are not suffering from any mental incapacity, may not be asking for help on health matters. They want the power to forcibly burst through your front door and give you that advice. Or ‘make your voice heard’ as they put it. Do you really fancy a Social Worker standing over you at bed time reminding you to put on a condom before engaging in sex?


They are basing the need for this new power on the fact that 66% of the sort of people who respond to vague questionnaires published on the Department of Health’s web site 3 years ago, thought that Social Workers should be able to burst through your front door if they wished to harangue you on their latest fashionable cause.

Fancy a Social Worker standing over you as you light your fifteenth cigarette that day? Or fry up that pan of chips? Go ahead, ignore this post…


Smokers, drinkers, all those who eat what they fancy, the world will be their oyster if they get this power.


This is about having the right to forcibly enter your home even though they have no reason to believe that you are mentally ill, the victim of violence, the victim of fraud, the victim of domestic violence, that there is a child at risk there, or any of the other above categories. They don’t want to have to show evidence to a judge, they want to be able to act on instinct alone.
While that is certainly frightening, let us also consider this recent study, "England's legislation on smoking in indoor public places and work-places: impact on the most exposed children," which was, interestingly, funded by the Department of Health. It's got the words "smoking" and "children" in it, so you just know it's a doozy.  They were concerned that since they exiled smokers back into their homes, that the kiddies would be exposed to even more second-hand smoke than before.  That's not the case, however. The study found that far fewer children are exposed to second-hand smoke in the home now than in earlier years. It should be job done. Right?  But no. This is not good enough, because some of you are practically murdering your children anyway. Something must be done!

Here's an image of the abstract, and note the Conclusions:

Click the image to enlargify
The Conclusions reads (emphasis added):
Legislation to prohibit smoking in indoor public places and work-places does not increase the proportion of children exposed to damaging levels of second-hand smoke. Even in a country with a strong tobacco control climate, a significant proportion of children remain highly exposed to second-hand smoke and future policies need to include interventions to reduce exposure among these children.
So even though trends are going down by a significant percentage, some children (about half of the kids who live with at least one smoking parent) are still exposed to levels of second-hand smoke so dangerous and toxic that we must believe these hapless children are about to drop dead any second now.

By the way, who wrote this paper?  Michelle Sims (Bath), Linda Bauld (Stirling), and Anna Gilmore (Bath).  Naturally, considering the authors, we know that it's 100% objective and factual probably a huge pile of bollocks. Why? Because the study stops only one year after the public smoking ban took effect. One fucking year! From Bath's Tobacco Control Research Group blog:
We analysed data from the Health Survey for England conducted between 1996 and 2008. These surveys measured cotinine, an indicator of tobacco smoke exposure, in the saliva collected from 16,000 children aged between 4 and 15.

We found that the proportion of children exposed to damaging levels of second-hand smoke has fallen over time. Amongst children in England, the percentage fell from 24% in 1996 to 13% in 2008.


The research also reveals that legislation did not increase the proportion of children exposed to damaging levels of secondhand smoke. This strengthens evidence from England and other countries of the United Kingdom that legislation to prohibit smoking in public places and work-places does not displace adult smoking to the home.

So one year of data (2008 -- the smoking ban was enacted in 2007) is enough to conclude that the smoking ban hasn't driven people into their homes? Christ on a bike! What about the next four years? These people consider themselves academics to make that bold statement based on one fucking year?  Seriously?  But even so, they still conclude that smokers are exposing their children to dangerous levels of second-hand smoke even though their own evidence suggests otherwise. You couldn't make this up!

The DH, staffed by those in the tobacco control industry, will buy it though. They'll say, "Look, a study confirms it!" and that study will run with yet another public consultation designed to deceive the public. Expect it. It will come.

Here's what we know:  Public smoking bans are not enough. Increasing the legal age which a person can buy tobacco is not enough. Raising duty to extortionate levels on tobacco is not enough. Display bans are not enough. Plain packaging for tobacco is not enough. Mass media campaigns are not enough.  It is never enough for these people in the tobacco control industry.

And so now they are going to lobby our government ministers, who are clearly inept and gullible morons, through the Department of Health Hate's minions certainly, using an extremely dodgy study, to ban smoking in your own home.  There will be no exemptions, no exceptions. Regardless if you have children. No smoking in any home anywhere. They'll come for the old-age pensioners too; grandma and grandpa smoker will be made examples of. No visiting grandma, kids. She's a filthy smoker. Count on it.

Do read the commentary on the study by Abraham Brown [Centre for Tobacco Control Research, UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies, Institute for Social Marketing, University
of Stirling] (emphasis added):
Sims et al.’s work therefore underlines the importance of continuing to undertake interventions and legislated policies to make smoke-free environments, especially in homes and cars, the societal norm. Such efforts should include community-level campaigns and programmes to raise awareness of the damaging effects of SHS exposure and support adults, particularly those living in smoking homes, to enforce smoke-free policies voluntarily in their homes and cars. The balance of evidence from several studies suggests strongly that the primary objective of reducing second-hand smoke exposure has been achieved, particularly among non-smokers in workplaces and the hospitality industry [15–17]. Nonetheless, to the extent that smoking in domestic settings remains evident in several jurisdictions [1], there is the need to encourage governments to enact policies that will make smoke-free homes the accepted norm.
If you're thinking, so what? It's unenforceable. You would be wrong. Let me tell you exactly how they're going to enforce it. They will use your children to enforce this legislation. Of course they will. Because they always use your children.

They will make educators responsible for asking children if any of their parents, siblings, or grandparents smoke. If the child answers affirmatively, expect a visit from a social worker. 

They will insist on mandatory cotinine testing of every child in school.  If any child tests positive for any trace amount of cotinine, expect a visit from a social worker.

Naturally, some of you may not smoke. You abhor smoking, and no one smokes in your home. But taking this to plausible absurdity: What if your teenager was sneaking a crafty fag with mates now and then?  He or she will definitely test positive for cotinine.  Because your teen smoked a few naughty ciggies, expect a visit from a social worker.  Do you think it matters that you don't allow smoking in your home?  You failed, non-smoking parent, because your child somehow ended up with cigarettes. It will be your fault.

Oh, and don't trust your neighbours. They will snitch on you, too, and they will be rewarded for it.

You will be fined. You will be branded a bad parent. They may put a hazardous warning sticker on your front door to let your neighbours know that you're a baby killer. It is conceivable that they might take your kids away because you are killing children, and your neighbours' children with your smoke drift -- all of them helpless and entirely unable to speak out against the horrible violence you are inflicting upon them. The Department of Health Hate will insist upon doing something about this.

That's how this is going to work. 

They will come into our homes, and if you do not toe the line and conform in accordance with the diktats of the Public Health crusade, they will crucify you.

Expect it.