Sample academic reading 2 : ban smoking in cars?

bansmokingincarsUpdate: This law has now been passed in the UK and has been in effect since October 1st, 2015.

In the British parliament on June 22nd, 2011, there was a debate about a new law to ban smoking in cars where children are present. Sean Gabb is the director of an educational charity called “The Libertarian Alliance”. As director, he was invited by BBC radio to give his comments. In his comments, he gives the reasons why he thinks smoking should not be banned in cars. It is important to understand that Sean Gabb himself does not smoke and does not think smoking is a healthy habit. It is not because he wants to be able to smoke in his car, therefore, that he is against this bill.

He gives three reasons for being against it:

  1. In support of this bill, it is claimed that 300,000 children in Britain suffer from “passive smoking”. [The BBC article  says that”More than 430,000 children are exposed to second-hand smoke in cars each week, according to the British Lung Foundation”.]  However, Sean Gabb doubts this number. How is this number calculated? Is it even possible to calculate this accurately? He gives other examples of “scientific” numbers which have been given in the past and which have been proved to be false: the number of people who would die of AIDS, the number of deaths from mad cow disease, and the numbers about global warming. None of these numbers were accurate. Why should we believe the numbers of children who are harmed by passive smoking?
  2. Mr Gabb has big doubts about many of the government numbers. Always, they seem to be excuses for higher taxes or for more laws the restrict the actions of citizens; in other words, we get less freedom and have to pay more taxes. Both of these are things most people do not want.
  3.  Mr Gabb is suspicious about any argument that is made supposedly to protect children. There are many arguments made with this rationale. Yet many laws that are passed in order to “protect the children” actually have another purpose which has no connection with children: the purpose is to reduce the freedom of adults. However, the argument “we must protect the children” is one that has a strong emotional appeal and will convince many people.

To summarise, Mr. Gabb is against this bill because it will restrict and reduce the freedom of adults, and also he does not believe that children are harmed by “passive smoking”; at least he does not believe the number  given by the government, of 300,000 children harmed in the UK.

Read the original article here.


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21 thoughts on “Sample academic reading 2 : ban smoking in cars?”

  1. I think that numbers are just the should not always be true. But I agree with the third opinion. I also think the word ‘children’ has convincing effect on many people because many commercial programs use such a word.

    1. Thank you for your comment. Yes, numbers (especially estimates) are just an indication, but what if these numbers (“just an indication”) are used to justify new laws and regulations? Dr. Gabb is arguing that these numbers should NOT be the basis for laws and regulations, as such numbers have been so unreliable in the past.

  2. I partly disagree with his opinion. I think the question is whether children can avoid passive smoking or not. Smokers know smoking is bad for their health but children may not. Especially babies cannot say anything even if they feel uncomfortable.
    However, I suppose there is another counter-argument against the bill. It is absolutely natural to protect children from passive smoking. I cannot understand why a law is necessary to do that. It is a question of morals, isn’t it? People must get common sense before dependence on regulations.

    1. Thanks for your comment. The question is about the law: should there be such a regulation or not? That is the question being discussed.

  3. I think it is not important about the number of children suffered from children. Regardless of its number, adults should protect children from smoking. I think it is better that children are protected by the restrict of adults’ action.

  4. I agree with the law. I could understand the children number will not accurate, but I think it is true that children suffer the harm of smoking.

  5. I think no matter whether the law are put or not, passive smoking is bad for children’s health. Adults should think when and where they smoke without such law.

  6. I agree with his opinion that the number given by the government is doubtful, but it is absolutely true that a lot of children are harmed by passive smoking. I think the important thing is that all of the adults protect the children without depending on the law.

  7. I agree with the writer. Although it is important to protect children’s health, it is equally important that our freedom be ensured. It’s just like the problem with Internet pornography filters; by allowing this to happen, aren’t we indirectly permitting the government to limit our freedom? It will make it easier for the government to make more and more laws about our variety of choices. If this happens, the government will have complete control over citizens.

  8. I agree with him, but cannot think his supports are effective. It is important which people or government should regard adults’ freedom or children’s safety more necessary, not the accurate number. I think adults’ freedom is more important, but I need some information of smking on children, to claim my opinion.

  9. I agree with the law. Although it is true that the children number will not accurate,
    it must be argued that passive smoking has a harmful effect on children’s health.
    This law is essential because some smokers don’t care of manners.

  10. I think the smoking effect to children is quite serious. So I agree with Mr.Gabb. To begin with, I want a world without tobacco.

    1. Thank you for your comment. Please read Dr. Gabb’s article again. I think you may have misunderstood Dr. Gabb’s position.

  11. I don’t agree with his third reason.
    I think passive smoking is harmful to not only children but also adults.
    The purpose of this law may not be to protect children.
    However, government can collect taxes by smokers, so the law which purpose is to restrict and reduce the freedom of smokers has no benefit for government.
    So, I think the purpose of the law is to protect children.

    1. Thank you for your comment. Dr. Gabb argues that the law is unnecessary. HE argues that, ostensibly, the purpose of the law is to protect children, but it will not. It will not because passive smoking does not exist. What the law will do is reduce the freedom of adults and will do nothing to protect children. How do you respond?

  12. I disagree with Sean Gabb, especially reason 1. According to some news I watched, it is certain that passive smoking has ill effects on people. So I think accuracy of the number is not so important.

  13. I think the writer needs to present clear and strong evidence that smoking is not so harmful to children. In order to be persuasive, there should be facts or sign rather than emotional opinion.

  14. I disagree with him. As he claims, the number of children suffering from passive smoking is unreliable. However, we cannot entirely accept his idea, because there are certainly a number of children who are suffering from passive smoking.
    Also, regulations and “governmental strategies” cannot be considered seperately. That is, many regulations include other governmental expectations besides their main purposes.

  15. I think that the number is not so important.
    Considering children’s safety, It is needed to think about just children without being prepossessed by the number of statistics or other opinions.

    1. Thank you for your comment. Mr. Gabb agrees with you that it is necessary to think about children’s safety. He says the law is not necessary.

  16. I disagree with Mr Gabb, because it’s true passive smoking is harmful to people. If the number which the government says isn’t true, people know that smoking is harmful habitat.

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