cigarettes1.jpgIt’s becoming increasingly common for governments, from federal down to local, to tax the living shit out of stuff like cigarettes to pay for other things, like health insurance for kids.

(Also: did you know a package of rolly costs $15 in SF these days? Holy crap).

Money collected under the fee is legally bound to pay only for cigarette collection. Not for picking up broken glass, burrito wrappings or compost: just cigarette butts.But San Francisco’s own local cigarette tax, a $0.33 cent per pack fee $0.20-per-pack fee, lowered Monday by Mayoral intervention, that would go into effect on October 1, won’t help pay for health costs, the school district, or anything else save the effort and energy needed to reach down, pick up those narsty smelly discarded cigarette butts, and place them into the trash.

The fee, proposed by Mayor Gavin Newsom, is intended to cover the $11 million annually spent by the city to collect old stanky ciggies. How did the city come by that figure? Simple math: the city spends $44 million a year on picking up litter, cigarette butts account for 25 percent of the city’s detritus, ergo the city spends $11 million a year on picking up after smokers.

But rather than paying for more ashcans, more trashcans or more ways for the city’s smokers to dispose of their waste, money collected under the fee is legally bound to pay only for cigarette collection. Not for picking up broken glass, burrito wrappings or compost: just cigarette butts.

How, exactly, will the city ensure this? The Department of Public Works, the entity whose workers will be doing the collecting, isn’t sure, and directed inquiries to the Mayor’s Office.

We’ll post back when we hear a reply, but in the meantime, the city’s out-of-workers could do worse than to practice their butt-collection technique: stoop, scoop and drop, people. Stoop, scoop, and drop.

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  • Eve Batey

    You know what this makes me think of? How when you go to Disney land/world you see folks dressed in dashing, vaguely aviation styled, toolbelted jumpsuits. Turns out they have one job, only: to scrape gum off things (sidewalk, under tables, etc). What kind of cool outfit would SF’s cigarette corps wear?

  • Eve Batey

    You know what this makes me think of? How when you go to Disney land/world you see folks dressed in dashing, vaguely aviation styled, toolbelted jumpsuits. Turns out they have one job, only: to scrape gum off things (sidewalk, under tables, etc). What kind of cool outfit would SF’s cigarette corps wear?

  • GlenParker

    For a mere $100,000 a year plus whatever medical and dental benefits our mayor enjoys I will spend eight hours a day sweeping up cigarette butts in a custom-made Armani tuxedo.
    I’m pretty spry and nimble and can cover a lot of ground in eight hours and will thus save my native and beloved SF $10,900.000 a year. This money could possibly be used to place ashcans all around the city making my job a bit easier and the streets a bit tidier.

  • GlenParker

    For a mere $100,000 a year plus whatever medical and dental benefits our mayor enjoys I will spend eight hours a day sweeping up cigarette butts in a custom-made Armani tuxedo.
    I’m pretty spry and nimble and can cover a lot of ground in eight hours and will thus save my native and beloved SF $10,900.000 a year. This money could possibly be used to place ashcans all around the city making my job a bit easier and the streets a bit tidier.