Smoking is expensive, but not as pricey as it could be if smokers had to pay to clean up the butts they toss aside.
Since the ban on smoking in public buildings and workplaces took effect a few years ago, it has become an outdoor activity, attested to by the perpetual presence of puffers near doorways.
A few places provide a receptacle for butts, but most smokers prefer to flick their spent cigarettes into the street with flair, believing it to be a divine right.
Tossing butts into the gutter is as time-honoured as smoking itself, justified by practitioners as socially acceptable.
Most of them would agree that dropping a coffee cup to the sidewalk is littering, but one little cigarette butt? Chill out, man.
A proposal in San Francisco to make smokers pay the cost of cleaning up butts and cigarette packaging could catch fire in cities such as Toronto, if there’s enough political will and pressure from people who are fed up with the mess.
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom wants to impose a 33-cent-per-pack tax on cigarettes to cover the cost of picking up after smokers, saying it “creates unnecessary cost for the city and its taxpayers.”