Chris Booker reports on a very predictable problem.
Following last weekend's smoking ban, thousands of English pubs have emulated their Scots, Welsh and Irish counterparts by installing patio heaters to keep unrepentant smokers warm as they huddle outside the doors.
Now British Gas has estimated that these will emit 160,000 tons of CO2 a year, thus wiping out nearly 10 per cent of the emission savings to which Britain is pledged under the Kyoto Protocol.
This has naturally reduced Tony Juniper of Friends of the Earth to apoplexy. Pointing out that each of these "metal monstrosities" emits more CO2 than a 4x4 vehicle, his response, as to anything which does not meet his requirements for a better world, is to demand that these "planet-wrecking products" must be banned.
But that's alright, we now have a ready mae culprit class to shoulder our guilt. Ladies and Gentlemen can I present the modern update on that old standard, the scapegoat, or maybe, the whipping boy.
Not content with scareing smokers with the possibility of rape,'Well she asked for it guv, she had a tab outside'; now the boys in blue, ever vigilent in our defence are warning us of other disasters to befall us,
"Smokers on Teesside are being warned to be on their guard against thieves looking to take advantage of the new smoking ban.
Posters have been put up in pubs across Hartlepool advising people not to leave their possessions unattended while stepping outside for a cigarette".
Mike Atherton highlights a sporting problem,
The great Serge Blanco, France's greatest rugby full-back, was a 40-a-day man, and the greatest cricketer of the modern era is also the greatest smoker: Shane Warne. Like Mark Twain, Warne has given the habit the flick thousands of times, but not yet permanently, even with the occasional financial inducement to stop.
Warne's addiction presents an interesting challenge for Hampshire. Have they, as the law demands, put up no-smoking signs in the dressing room? If Warne lights up will a team-mate complain? If so, the law states that the initial responsibility for action lies with the manager in charge. As captain, Warne would have to reprimand himself.