Recently there was an interesting article in SF Examiner regarding City of San Francisco banning smoking PLUS banning businesses from keeping ashtrays. This is in the mistaken belief that ashtrays will promote smoking. So now cleaning up/sweeping cigarette butts near their shops is major headache for the shopkeepers.

This is classic example of NOT anticipating unintended consequences – i.e. making policies and laws to push the problem somewhere else, without really solving it holistically. Banning ashtrays is stupid – since they allow for proper disposal of cigarette butts without creating headache and extra work for shopkeepers.

Proper stands for cigarette waste disposal with a message to call a hotline for quitting smoking is used effectively in Ireland, that is a good example of anticipating the unintended consequences and thus modifying the policy.

Can we expect SF lawmakers not create new problems by simultaneously banning ashtrays along with banning smoking?

One more unintended consequences is that by acting in such stupid manner they (SF policymakers) have lost the respect of affected shopkeepers, hence they will get less cooperation in implementing other useful policies.

Hello, is somebody listening?

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