The nanny state is alive and well in Europe, as authoritarian “democracies” continue to enhance and expand the power of government under the assumption that ordinary mortals aren’t capable of making their own decisions.
As reported by Agence France Presse, a new law came into force in Scotland just recently, which bans smoking in automobiles where there are children present – part of the government’s push to raise a “tobacco-free generation.”
The law gives authorities the power to fine violators the equivalent of about $127 or 119 euros, and will be issued on the spot if adults are caught lighting up where kids who are under 18 years of age are present in vehicles.
If a case goes to court, then the fine gets much steeper – about 10 times as much. The measure passed unanimously in the Scottish parliament this month.
The provision was introduced as part of the government’s plans to reduce the number of smokers in the coming generations to below 5 percent by 2034.
“It’s simply not safe to smoke when a child is in the car. Dangerous levels of chemicals can build up, even on short journeys,” Aileen Campbell, the public health minister of Scotland, told AFP.
Smoking is bad, sure, but isn’t big government worse?
Breathing in secondhand tobacco smoke has been linked to respiratory infections, asthma, lung cancer and coronary heart disease, AFP reported, citing data from the World Health Organization.
A number of health charities have welcomed the new law. One, Ash Scotland, says the law is sending a clear signal that children ought to be tobacco-free and thus should grow up in a tobacco-free environment.
“We know from speaking to parents that they want to protect their children from tobacco smoke, but often don’t know enough about how smoke is harmful and lingers in the air even after you can’t see or smell it,” said Sheila Duffy, the group’s chief executive.
Groups that back smokers, however, are decrying the new law. Simon Clark, director of smokers’ group Forest, called the law “patronizing and unnecessary.” He claimed that very few adults even smoke in their vehicles as long as children are in them, because smokers know it is “inconsiderate.” He predicted that there wouldn’t be much enforcement of the new law because so few Scots do it.
England and Wales passed similar legislation in 2015 banning smoking in cars when children are present.
Granted, there are few people who could reasonably argue that it is a good thing to smoke cigarettes in vehicles with children. But, as Clark noted, it’s not a big problem anyway – so what’s the point of writing and passing legislation for it?
What if the goal is to get everyone used to having government decide everything?
But the most alarming thing is that this represents nothing less than additional nanny state government whereby bureaucrats are deciding on behalf of citizens what is and is not “good” for them. Many European nations get away with this because of their universal, taxpayer-supported healthcare systems. Under the guise of “improving health” and “lowering costs,” nanny-crats tend to push for all sorts of rules and regulations limiting personal behavior. When something is determined to be “bad” by whichever agency is designated to self-determine such things, there is never even a choice offered – the activity or product is banned, and anyone who engages in said activity or uses said product is effectively punished.
That’s not democracy and freedom; that’s tyranny.
Today it’s tobacco, but what will it be tomorrow? Free-range chickens? Raw milk? Non-GMO, organically-grown crops? And all under the pretend notion that such things “are not good for you,” as decided by some faceless bureaucrat sitting in some alphabet agency somewhere.
Freedom necessarily empowers the individual, not the state. But in a “state” where the government empowers itself at the expense of the individual, there is no limit to what said government will consider its right to regulate.