Smoke 'em out

Another old friend, the law of unintended consequences, has made one of its frequent appearances. The ban on smoking in public places has been widely welcomed, but not by the promoters of science and technology in schools.

It appears that the Scottish Executive has decreed that the use of smoking machines indoors, even in a fume cupboard and following the right control measures and after a suitable risk assessment has been carried out, is illegal. Teachers staging such a demonstration in a laboratory have quickly done their own risk assessment - they would be prosecuted.

But the cavalry, in the shape of the Scottish Schools Equipment Research Centre, is massing on the hill. It believes the use of smoking machines in schools is "effective and valuable" and should be exempt from the legislation.

Could a famous victory be in sight?

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