A survey last year by the Tidy Britain Group claimed that '80 per cent' of town centres were already blighted by cigarette litter. Now the Local Government Association says that since the smoking ban nasty, evil smokers are dumping an extra 25 tons a day in cigarette ends on the streets of England. Wow, that's terrible.
Can this figure really be true?
Well no, actually, it can't. They simply made it up. The taxable weight of a cigarette is 0.725 grams, of which the butt accounts for one quarter. 25 tons a day equates to 51.2 billion cigarettes per year, considerably more than the annual total cigarette sales for the entire UK.
Were the LGA's claims true that would mean every single cigarette end is discarded on the pavements. Smokers would have to save them up then transport them into town for dispersal in the street. Pub landlords would have to empty all the ashtrays in the shelters then hurl their contents through the front door. Even then we would need to import billions of cigarette ends from abroad to make up the shortfall.
But surely our authorities would never lie to us, would they? What would they stand to gain? Plenty. First there's the castigation and social exclusion of the smoker in a continuing, state-sponsored propaganda campaign against a quarter of the UK population. The likes of which have not been witnessed since wartime Germany.
Then there's the financial implications. The Govt has warned Local Authorities to seek new streams of revenue outside the hated council tax. They realise we've reached the point where the pips are squeaking. Targeting smokers for 'easy nick' £80 on-the-spot litter fines requires public support, best obtained by the false implication council tax bills would be lower otherwise.
In addition expect to receive surcharges to your pub's business rates for additional street cleaning. Our local council has already started this, sending out an interim £20 invoice to every pub and club in the borough. Pay up or else. Councils still see struggling licenced premises as cash cows.
Finally it strengthens the case for a complete ban on smoking in ALL built up areas, which is certainly coming with the next health policy review in less than three years time. Your expensive smoking areas will then be entirely redundant and your smoking customers a distant memory.
Rest assured this is on the way. The decision has already been made, long ago, with no consultation or consideration for your livelihood. When it's slipped in under the radar don't say you weren't warned. Either start fighting it now or consider a change of career.