The Butt Stops Here

Effects of the smoking ban evident on Chiswick's pavements

Related Links


Sign up for our free weekly newsletter

Comment on this story on the

Whilst the jury may still be out on the effects of the smoking ban on the pub and restaurant trade, its consequences are already evident on the pavements of Chiswick.

Although Hounslow Council have installed 10 specifically designed cigarette bins along the High Road which are being monitored on a trial basis, this doesn’t help the smokers that are either given no alternative or choose to use footpaths as a bin.

The ban applies to every pub, restaurant, office, shop, garage, warehouse - in fact, every indoor workplace. It also applies to partial enclosures if less than half the sides are open and in most vehicles used at work.

However, while business owners are obliged by law to display no smoking signs on their premises and vehicles, they are not obliged to provide their workers and visitors with outdoor ashtrays or other receptacles should they wish to smoke. This results in piles of unsightly cigarette littering the pavements and in some cases flowerbeds outside offices and other public buildings.

Even though the council demands that traders keep their outside areas clean and in good condition, it would appear from one local businessman’s experience that they are doing little to make this an easy task.

Sam Harrison, proprietor of Sam’s Bar & Brasserie in Barley Mow Passage has applied for a pavement licence to create a controlled environment for smokers.

He told, “A major reason for wanting to place tables outside is to be able to provide an area for smokers. At the moment, smokers are just standing outside, which is very unsightly for us as a business and for the area as a whole. It also leaves a terrible mess and really devalues the whole area.”

“I have applied for the licence explaining the motivation behind it but was told I have to go to Licensing Panel because of one objection received from Cllr Samantha Davies [Chair of the Licencing Panel].”

According to DEFRA, cigarette litter represents 79% of all street litter. Cigarette butts are harmful to the environment, unsightly to say the least and are time consuming and costly to clean-up. It is thought that the smoking ban will reduce the number of smokers which in turn will result in a reduction in the amount of smoking-related litter however, a quick scan of Chiswick’s pavements reveal that this is not yet the case.

Controlled smoking areas with appropriate ashtrays are an integral part of a sustainable solution in reducing cigarette litter. Ultimately, if all smokers used an ashtray then there would not be a litter problem however, smokers will often cite a lack of ashtrays as a reason for littering cigarette ends. Research also suggests that people will not walk more than 12 metres to dispose of their litter which is evident outside many the office buildings and shops.

While it would be impossible for the council to place ashtrays everywhere, residents and traders alike would like to see them doing more than issuing no smoking signs to businesses.

July 26, 2007