Picked up on this news bite from the Denialism Blog this morning talking about San Francisco's cigarette butt littering problem. They link to an article in the NY Times where Mayor Gavin Newsom discusses his plan for tackling the cigarette butt problem with a new tax that adds another 33¢ to every pack. Makes sense if the smokers are the ones dumping the butts in the streets, they should also be the ones willing to pay someone to clean them up. Especially the filter ends as they aren't biodegradable, end up washed down the drain and into the oceans where they eventually find their way floating back to the beaches.
However, the poor Mayor has already had a complaint. From the cigarette companies:
“Obviously we think people should follow the littering laws, in California and elsewhere,” said Frank Lester, a spokesman for Reynolds American Inc., the nation’s second-largest manufacturer of cigarettes. “But we oppose any additional taxation on smokers to pay for that.”
It's whose responsibility then? The non smokers? Get real Reynolds American Inc! I think it's funny how the American cigarette companies cry foul all the time and whine about any laws that dig into their profits when their money is made on an addictive poison. I don't think they cigarette companies make nearly as much noise, or it's ignored for the squalling tantrum it really is, when the UK puts photos of tar infested lungs, neck tumors and sluggish sperm on every pack of cigarettes.
I wonder what the tobacco companies would do if they tried this in the USA? It would be litigation Heaven. I've not got time just this minute, but I'd like to look into what Big Tobacco had to say in regards to the pack prices and images the UK launched last Fall. What do you think? Canada and Australia have had similar images for years, have they helped reduce sales and encourage people to quit or never start? Do you have active anti-smoking education weeks like we have in our public schools? If it were suggested images like the ones used in the UK were to be used on cigarette packs in California, what would be the likely outcome?