Letter: No vehicle ashtrays causing problems for smokers

Kelowna letter writer says maybe it’s time for vehicle manufacturers to have some accountability

To the editor:

One of the problems these days—you could say it’s an excuse if you want—vehicles are no longer fitted with ashtrays. I’m sure pretty much everybody smoked in decades gone by, and when you purchased a car you got the central ashtray, some had ashtrays on the driver’s side door, and there was another for the backseat passengers. Flick your ash, put the butt out, all done “in-car.”

As more and more of us gave up the habit (for me the added tax by the provincial government in 2002, for some the potential serious health problems) it seems the automobile manufacturers have decided it is an “accessory” no longer needed, and I’m sure it saves money not to have to design car interiors and then fit them with ashtrays.

And so we get automobiles without an ashtray, and as any “bonehead” will tell you, his (or her) cigarette has to go somewhere because there’s no ashtray, so the roadside is the obvious choice.

So maybe politicians such as our premier, or maybe local governments, need to put some statutes in place that vehicles once again be supplied with ashtrays. They don’t necessarily have to be incorporated into the vehicle’s dash, but they could be supplied (like the child-seat fitting) as an “extra” and can be placed into any one of the cup-holders available; an inexpensive accessory which “boneheads” won’t go out and buy, but if it was supplied free they just might make use of it.

As an alternative, maybe provincial governments could sue the auto-manufacturers for the costs of fires where the fire was started by a cigarette thrown out of an automobile. Obviously it would be nice to sue the actual person responsible for all the fire-fighting costs, the loss of properties and the loss of timber, but invariably the result would be minimal, whereas suing a manufacturer could result in millions towards the cost taxpayers are funding.

Malcolm Roberts, Kelowna

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