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Letters  

Fight fire with cigarettes

This is the most expensive and extensive wildfire season ever in British Columbia and the costs are staggering. Wildfires have literally burned up over $400 million in taxpayer money to defend our precious and valuable forests.

We can't stop lightning from striking, so many of the fires are simply natural occurrences. Everyone in BC and visitors to the province are all well aware that over 40% of these fires are human caused. Some by accident but mostly from careless cigarette tossing.

These people who are throwing out burning butts will never stop doing it, no matter how much attention the problem raises. They can be called lazy, or irresponsible, or slobs, pick one. But that is not the solution.

The solution is user pay, yes, make each and every smoker take a share in the annual fire fighting costs.

Quick math; 10% or 400,000 BC residents smoke and consume 90 million packs of cigarettes per year. I suggest the price of a pack of cigarettes should be increased by $2 immediately. It would be a surcharge directed solely into the forestry budget.

I doubt such an increase would inspire any smokers to stop smoking, but it would certainly raise $180 million for the province to direct into wildfire fighting.

That $180 million is almost exactly equal to the annual wildfire fighting expenses passed on to all BC taxpayers, but caused by smokers.

We will never stop the butt tossers, but at least they can become the financial solution to the problem.

Ken L



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