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Painter fined for smoking in van - The lunatics really have taken over now!

csiman Avatar
banned8y, 4m agoPosted 8 years, 4 months ago
A painter and decorator from Ceredigion says he is "dumbfounded" after being slapped with a £30 fine for smoking a cigarette in his own van.

Gordon Williams says he had popped to the shops earlier this month, when he was pulled over by council officials.

"I was told that because my van is my place of work I had broken the smoking laws," he said.

A council spokesperson said anyone handed a fine is eligible to appeal against the decision.

"I am dumbfounded - the van is only insured for private use and to get me to and from work," added Mr Williams, from Llanafan, near Aberystwyth.

"It not my place of work - I decorate houses not vans."

The grandfather decried the on-the-spot penalty as the "Big Brother state going too far".

He added: "I respect anyone who chooses not to smoke, but I would also ask for the same respect to have the freedom to smoke in my own private vehicle."

Mr Williams was driving on the A487 near Aberystwyth in his unmarked blue Suzuki Carrier van when he was pulled over by council officials carrying out spot checks on the safety of vehicles.

He believes it is the first ticket of its kind handed out by the council since the smoking regulations came in last year - the fixed penalty notice was number 0001.

Mr Williams' wife Sue has already paid the fine, fearing it would increase if not settled promptly.

But her husband remains defiant, and said he would be challenging the punishment.

"I have appealed against this even though I initially paid the fine otherwise it would have increased to £50.

"I've sent up my insurance certificate and am awaiting the outcome.

"Ridiculous"

Simon Clark, the director of smoking freedom group Forest, condemned the fine as "absolutely ridiculous".

He said: "It smacks of some jobsworth council official interpreting the law to the most extreme level.

"This surely is not what the change in the law was intended for - it was not meant to harass and persecute people going about their ordinary lives.

"It is ridiculous that someone should be fined for smoking in their own private vehicle away from any workplace."

Ceredigion Council said they could not comment on individual cases.

A spokesperson added: "The legislation allows for a right of appeal and the procedures in relation to this are set out in the notices."
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csiman Avatar
banned8y, 4m agoPosted 8 years, 4 months ago
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#1
I hate cigarette smoke, but this is absolutely rediculous. What if a smoker worked from home?
#2
I would agree that this case sounds ridiculous, going off topic for one second though - the funny thing is whenever I see a child(or adult) inside a car as a passenger, and the parent/relative/driver is smoking I've always wondered if that is considered as breaking the law and could get you a pull from the police as it's a confined space.

Anyone else wondered that?

In this case though seeing as the chap was on his own, in is own vehicle he must of been stopped by the police for 'self harm' - rather than publicly flouting any smoking laws.

Idiotic PC nonsense.
#3
My business address is my home address and I use the spare bedroom as an office - technically do I need No Smoking signs in my office? Do I need to stand on the landing to have a cigarette?

I don't have clients round (I always go to them), unless they are just dropping stuff off at the door.
#4
bug199
My business address is my home address and I use the spare bedroom as an office - technically do I need No Smoking signs in my office? Do I need to stand on the landing to have a cigarette?

I don't have clients round (I always go to them), unless they are just dropping stuff off at the door.


Reported to the relevant authorities:p
#5
robtallica;2600819
I would agree that this case sounds ridiculous, going off topic for one second though - the funny thing is whenever I see a child(or adult) inside a car as a passenger, and the parent/relative/driver is smoking I've always wondered if that is considered as breaking the law and could get you a pull from the police as it's a confined space.

Anyone else wondered that?



I am always amused by drivers smoking with the window down. Surely they ought to drive with the windows tightly closed to get the full benefit of the smoke! :) I hate to see small kids stuck in the back of a car while their parents are smoking (and I do believe this should be an offense!).
#6
Predikuesi
I am always amused by drivers smoking with the window down. Surely they ought to drive with the windows tightly closed to get the full benefit of the smoke! :) I hate to see small kids stuck in the back of a car while their parents are smoking (and I do believe this should be an offense!).


I know exactly what you mean, it's a total contradiction:thumbsup:
#7
Not a smoker, don't particularly like people smoking in public, but this story is ridiculous. Dumbest thing I've heard today and it's not even 8 yet.
#8
they just want your money doesnt matter what or why. i am a social smoker so don't have a real issue -- but if they really wanted to enforce a smoking ban EVERYWHERE they shd just stop it from being sold in the UK ... instead of ticking one box of public health requirements and on the other hand, receiving taxes for them. that, my friend is hypocrisy.
banned#9
kippy
they just want your money doesnt matter what or why.


That pretty well sums it up!

Some people just like reporting others. It gives them a sense of purpose.
#10
i quit smoking over two years ago and have become a smoker hater to just the irrisponsable ones who smoke near children but i agree this is silly why don t they ban people at the correct places like wigan infermary at the entrance of the maternity there is a smoking shelter, that is just stupid newborn babies being carried through a ploom of smoke?
#11
It's ridiculous - As far as I was aware the ban was only really if you had colleagues/clients in the vehicle with you.

i don't smoke and don't like it but what harm is he doing, smoking on his own in his own vehicle?!
#12
The Monster Raving Loony Party have an interesting manifesto pledge - to rehouse all smokers to the Isle of Man. Sounds reasonable, but the ferrys would be busy for a while to get them all over there.
#13
gemz700;2600982
It's ridiculous - As far as I was aware the ban was only really if you had colleagues/clients in the vehicle with you.

i don't smoke and don't like it but what harm is he doing, smoking on his own in his own vehicle?!

a lot to himself but importantly none to others
#14
Bit of a weird one. The law does state that you can't smoke in a vehicle that is used for business purposes though (you can't even smoke in an ordinary company car, for example). But if the vehicle was 'unmarked' as they say, how did the person who gave out the ticket even know it wasn't a private vehicle? There must have been something that gave it away - ladders on the roof or something. But if he takes workmates anywhere in the van, then technically (and ridiculously) then the fine was right.

"the van is only insured for private use and to get me to and from work," he says - but if he's transporting his ladders etc (which I'd have to assume he is) then it's a business use vehicle really, not a private one.
#15
as far as im aware as saw segment on tv just now the van was plain navy one unmarked and he was a self employed painter and decorator ( just him). He got pulled by police doing random checks
#16
I find this so annoying!
I am a homeworker and I smoke and i have just had to do a full check on my home which included things about smoking within a working environment as I have had a colleague working with me in my house for the past 8 weeks.
The checks state that if my colleague didn't smoke then i would not be able to smoke within our work areas which are my front room, which is where she is working, and also my upstairs office. So basically i would have to go outside to smoke!
Thank god she is a smoking sinner too! ;):)
#17
BristolDeal
Bit of a weird one. The law does state that you can't smoke in a vehicle that is used for business purposes though (you can't even smoke in an ordinary company car, for example). But if the vehicle was 'unmarked' as they say, how did the person who gave out the ticket even know it wasn't a private vehicle? There must have been something that gave it away - ladders on the roof or something. But if he takes workmates anywhere in the van, then technically (and ridiculously) then the fine was right.

"the van is only insured for private use and to get me to and from work," he says - but if he's transporting his ladders etc (which I'd have to assume he is) then it's a business use vehicle really, not a private one.


Yes, it's a single example of a law put into practice in a way that will be hijacked by the "the country has gone made" fringe (e.g. see the OPs evaluation in the title). However, it is also a good awareness-raising story that will prompt many others to consider the issues a little more.

But yes, there are many examples where people are flouting the law in ways that are not so ambiguous (they are less newsworthy for the popular press though). For example, I cycled past a taxi-driver yesterday who had pulled over and was smoking in his car. That's clearly wrong imo.

But back to the main point, sometimes these stories provoke general discussions about the overall good of such health-related laws, and this is always a good thing even if the initial knee-jerk reaction isn't very considered.

Imo, we could also do with (more) similar 'stories' about people using mobile phones whilst driving. As much as I dislike taxi-drivers smoking in their cars, I am in much more immediate danger from people talking on their mobiles, especially as I cycle every day!
#18
BristolDeal
Bit of a weird one. The law does state that you can't smoke in a vehicle that is used for business purposes though (you can't even smoke in an ordinary company car, for example). But if the vehicle was 'unmarked' as they say, how did the person who gave out the ticket even know it wasn't a private vehicle? There must have been something that gave it away - ladders on the roof or something. But if he takes workmates anywhere in the van, then technically (and ridiculously) then the fine was right.

"the van is only insured for private use and to get me to and from work," he says - but if he's transporting his ladders etc (which I'd have to assume he is) then it's a business use vehicle really, not a private one.


Was about to post something similar.

His vehicle is either personal or business, if it's personal then he shouldn't be carrying equipment in there and he could probably get done for not being insured correctly.

If it's business use, which it sounds like to me, then technically he shouldn't be smoking in there.

There are a lot of grey areas with this law, what about a camera crew filming a family for reality tv? Are the family allowed to smoke as it's the camera crew's place of work?

What about filming a tv program or film? Is the character allowed to smoke as it't their place of work?
#19
pretend cigs (like the pretend booze) on sets?
#20
LOL this is surely a joke
#21
For me, i see the problem i see is the control of the vehicle. Whether business or private. Not allowed to drink, eat, phone, read paper at the wheel, yet you are allowed to smoke. If you are removing your hands periodically from the wheel, other than for car controls, then why shouldn't it be banned.

Not that i am a perfect driver, i often eat and drink (non alcoholic!!) at the wheel

Do whatever you want in your own home, i have noting against that.
#22
Liddle ol' me
As much as I dislike taxi-drivers smoking in their cars, I am in much more immediate danger from people talking on their mobiles, especially as I cycle every day!

I take your point LOM and I agree that using a mobile whilst driving is unacceptable but it could be argued that smoking at the wheel is even more dangerous. If someone is driving along and drops his/her mobile phone into their lap they will simply reach down and retrieve it. Dropping a lit cigarette into your lap whilst driving or not, provokes a fairly 'animated' response I have observed!..... Neither should be allowed and indeed using a mobile phone/two-way radio whilst driving is indeed against the law (unless you are a Police Officer of course:x) but we all see it flouted every day.

They (Mr B's Government), can ban smoking all together for me, I really don't give a monkeys. And I don't want to hear all the wingeing from the Smoking Lobby. We've heard it all before and its..... BORING! If you want to smoke fine but I don't so I don't want you near me when you are. As for the bloke in the OP, I find it staggering that he has been given this fine. If I choose to smoke in my own vehicle then NO ONE can stop me (I don't smoke as you may have guessed!). The law provides protection for the public in order that they are not effected by 'second-hand' smoke. That is the reason that smoking is banned in a company vehicle, as there is a possibility that 'other workers' from the same company and/or clients may use the vehicle and as such, they 'could' be effected by second-hand smoke. This guy (as I understand it), owns the vehicle. If someone comes into MY vehicle they are NOT in a public place they have entered into a 'Private' place. Remember we are talking solely about 'Private' property and use here. The same is true of someone entering into my home. I can smoke my head off in my own home and if someone enters my home they are entering private property. However, employees of companies now have a right to refuse to work in someone's home if they feel they may be effected by second-hand smoke. A British Gas Service Engineer for example. Indeed, companies are required to check whether their employees are likely to be subject to second hand smoke and deal with the 'threat' accordingly. The client/customer would then be written to and told of the situation. They (the customer) probably won't like it but its Corporate Liability and most big companies, corporation's, council's etc, won't run the risk of being taken to court over this. In recent weeks a local council wrote to their tenants advising them that if they smoke, then they are not allowed to smoke in the property in a given period before a scheduled visit by one of their employees. This is lawful as the property is not owned by the tenant and the landlord (the council), has a duty of care to protect its employees from second-hand smoke. Like most new laws, it is not until these laws are tested in the courts (Case Law), that we get to see its parameters and its effect. It will be an interesting few years I think but in any case, smoking is dying out (no pun intended).
#23
Heard this in Scotland back when it was introduced there,

What happened was a woman was having an Anne Summers party and she was fined as it was classified as a workplace!

It turns out it was one of the neighbours who had a rep for being one of those stereotype whingers who complained about everything.

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