The British Medical Association has called for even more draconian measures to restrict the freedoms of the general populace. At their annual conference, the union suggested a wide range of additional ways to stop people from living their lives how they wish to.
Firstly, they recommended the previously floated idea of a ban on smoking in cars. The justification for this is a piece of dubious research claiming toxicity from smoking in cars is 27 times higher than it is in a home. Research on smoking from self interested groups such as ASH has often been disingenuous, however it is a misleading statistic in any case as houses are far larger and more open than the inside of a car. People should have the freedom to smoke in their own vehicle as long as cigarettes are legal.
Secondly, the BMA suggested a combination of measures on the subject of alcohol, including a total ban on advertising, curtailing licensing hours and introducing a minimum price for each alcoholic unit. Considering the perilous state of the nation’s finances, banning alcohol advertising which contributes over £200 million per year to the British economy is absurd. Minimum pricing is a regressive policy which unfairly targets all drinkers, especially those on lower incomes, while doing nothing to stop hardened alcoholics for whom price has no effect on demand.
There was also the vague suggestion of outlawing the ‘unacceptable’ use of trans-fats in food. This seems unenforceable considering many trans-fats are naturally occurring in food. Besides this, why should people who generally eat healthily be restricted from eating certain foods simply because the BMA is concerned about others who consistently eat the wrong foods?
Luckily, not all in attendance agreed with these excessive methods. One medical student, Charlie Bell said:
“We are the BMA not the BNA - the British Nannying Association.”
The Department of Health has released the following response:
“This government believes that if we are to find new ways of supporting people to change their behaviour we need to work in a broad partnership with public health, voluntary and commercial organisations.”
“Government alone cannot improve public health. Everyone has a role to play in improving the public's health.”
The BMA will never stop trying to enforce more regulations. Of course it is in their interest, and society in generals, for people to be healthier and live longer. However, this should not be at the expense of losing our freedom to enjoy perfectly legal products.