The British Medical Association has called for a smoking ban in cars. Sean Gabb of the Libertarian Alliance denounces this call for the following reasons:
- It is not the business of the State to protect individuals from the alleged effects of their own actions. The argument that smokers may impose costs on others via treatment on the NHS is really a comment on the totalitarian implications of the coerced pooling of risk at the heart of state health care. Even if valid, this argument would also justify recriminalising gay sex to reduce the cost of treating aids, or banning all dangerous sports.
- The argument from “passive smoking” is based on falsehoods. There is no way of gathering meaningful data, nor even sound epidemiological evidence that passive smoking exists. The alleged figure of 300,000 children harmed every year in the UK by passive smoking is what is called a “junk statistic.” It is in the same league as the claims made in the 1980s about the number of people who would die of aids by 1990, or the claims made in the 1990s about the numbers who would soon be dead from mad cow disease. It is almost as gross a falsehood as the fraudulent global warming claims made by British scientists.
- These statistics produced by pressure groups and politicians are plainly dubious on their own account. Every single statistical claim reported by the media and accepted by the politicians seems to justify higher taxes or tighter controls on adult actions, or both. There was a time when it was necessary to bribe priests into saying that God wanted if before the authorities could oppress ordinary people. Nowadays, a set of junk statistics is produced.
- The demand for a smoking ban in cars is also an instance of the “saving the kiddies” argument. This proceeds by hiding the agenda of control behind a cloud of hot air about the need to protect children.
Therefore, the Libertarian Alliance is against any smoking ban in cars.