The British government, in a bid to tackle the problems of traffic congestion, the environment and the growing cost to the NHS of smoking across the country, have announced plans for British motorists to fund smokers' ill health.
The announcement comes in the form of a leaked memo from environment secretary David Miliband to health secretary Patricia Hewitt (and alledgedly CCed to Douglas Alexander, Secretary of State for Transport). The memo states that:
"Look, let's kill two birds with one stone (or at the very least, where possible, cripple the bird with a brick) - smokers' ill health is costing the NHS billions. Pollution is going to cost us millions to clear up and people are getting really irate about the amount of traffic on the roads. Let's just charge motorists to use the roads, say £1 per 5 miles, to pay for everything. I mean, some of these people have two cars, we absolutely must stamp on them as hard as possible."
Pro-smoking groups have welcomed the leak saying that "...finally, a leaked government memo that makes total and absolute sense and doesn't offend anyone!". However, some motorists we asked in a quick poll suggested that they weren't happy with the idea:
"The problem for me," said Derek Derekssonn, a student from Glasgow University, "is that I'd be sorely tempted whenever I'd been for a drive, to get out of the car before turning the engine off, clasp my mouth around the exhaust and inhale for a bit. That way I'd at least be a part of this 'circle of money' and I'd feel happy about it."
Whether Derek is an anomalous and crazed example of what happens when you stop the scruffiest person on the street, there's no way to tell.