Petitioner: Belinda Cunnison on behalf of Freedom to Choose (Scotland)
22 October 2012
Calling on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to review the smoking prohibition and control provisions of the Smoking, Health and Social Care (Scotland) Act 2005 in the light of new developments in clean air technology and the European indoor air quality standard Ventilation for non-residential buildings, EN 13779.
Secondary smoke is alleged to be so toxic that government has no option other than a comprehensive smoking ban because there is ‘no safe level of exposure to secondary smoke’. This claim lacks credibility, as no consistent evidential link has been found between secondary smoke exposure and ill health even after decades of exposure.
All toxins have safe levels listed in Health and Safety Executive Workplace Exposure Limits, EH40, 2005 updated 2011, in which tobacco smoke does not receive any mention (which it should, since there are still exemptions to the smoking ban). Since exposure to secondary smoke is alleged to be so dangerous, this seems a curious omission, suggesting that SHS is actually a negligible risk. Or does it confirm the official view that a safe level of secondary smoke cannot be defined?
Why have we isolated tobacco smoke as an ultra-toxic special case that cannot be controlled in the way we expect other toxins to be controlled?