Smoking car ban is the least we can do

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IN YOUR editorial “Smoking ban proposals invade our private space” (29 May), The Scotsman reflected that the “urge to protect children is an honourable one, but it cannot be a carte blanche for illiberal laws”.

I agree entirely with this statement.

As a Scottish Liberal Democrat I value deeply an individual’s right to private space.

I also believe that the moral and socially just onus is upon us all to protect vulnerable groups from harm.

Indeed, it was in John ­Stuart Mill’s seminal work, On Liberty, that he argued the only circumstance under which power can be rightfully exercised over another individual, against their will, is to prevent harm to others.

It is with this principle in mind that I have put forward my proposals which would ban smoking in cars when children are passengers.

I hope that readers will also reflect upon the comments of Dr Neneh Rowa-Dewar of the UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies, who put forward a very lucid point during our consultation launch. She inferred that society had not yet afforded children the status of rights as we do adults. As children have no freedom or choice to opt out of the drive to school, dance class or football practice, surely we have a duty to preserve their freedom from such obvious harm whilst in that vehicle.

It is a concerning path to travel that we avoid offering children more freedoms on the basis that adult freedoms hold top trumps. This is not about opening doors to the nanny state, but about ­caring for children who have no power in that specific situation to protect their health.

Jim Hume MSP

Scottish Liberal Democrat, South Scotland

We LIVE in a country where discriminating against a person on the grounds of age is no longer legal.

Will someone please point that out to those drawing up or promoting a parliamentary bill outlawing smoking in cars containing children.

To deny an old age pensioner like myself protection under the law offered to children (an age-based judgment) will be an illegal act of discrimination, and it will be my intention to seek the prosecution – private if necessary – of any person or organisation that discriminates against me in this way.

David Fiddimore

Calton Road

Edinburgh