London: How I ‘deal’ with Dirty Smokers

I hate it when smokers drop their fag butts on to the street particularly in London when many people allow them to do it which makes the problem worse.

When I see them chuck their fag butt on the floor (or other kinds of litter), I go up to them immediately, innocently, and say ‘Excuse me, is this yours?’

The picture on their faces is of absolute shock and embarrassment, so much so, they have no words. They are ashamed.

People in this country hate ‘standing out and being humiliated’ in public. They think that chucking litter on the floor is something no one in an ‘anonymous city’ like London will notice and do anything about. Generally I feel safe doing this, as they often do it in public, so if they do something dodgy, other people see and be a witness. They are kind of ‘snookered’.

Chucking litter in London appears to be normal to some people in England. However, me taking on Gandhi’s quote, to be ‘Be the Change’ tends to act differently in cities. I would say, as a tip, I would ‘scarper’ quickly away afterwards, maybe find a side street, or a place with CCTV.


Furthermore, they often do this with their friends who are too scared to stop their friends doing it or not bothered, so, they are in fact enabling the problem. Once again, it is like ‘the elephant in the room’, our culture doesn’t want to ruin the friendship, despite the fact their pretty and popular friend is doing something illegal and disgusting. Friends need to take action, or else, other members of the public will have to ‘their job for them’. It is embarrassing for smokers’ friends too that a random member of the public has to bring it to their attention.


Once I was in Peckham in South London, and there were two British middle-aged ladies in the street sitting on a park bench, and one of them, old enough to know better, chucked her fag butt right in front of me onto the ground. I quietly walked up to her in front of her friend and picked up her fag butt and placed it in the bin, which was not far her, and she could see it. It was quite amazing how many people who were caught chucking litter, were women, and perhaps parents and grandmothers too! You wonder if they are tidy in their own house, they probably are!

The silence of my action shocked them. They looked gobsmacked that someone of the street, and a fellow woman, would ‘take their fag butt’ and put it in a bin, it was almost a ‘picture of horror’, but the silence from them was deafening, as they realised I had done nothing wrong, but one of her friends had. They just couldn’t argue!

Showing older people, and women, how to behave in public can be quite fun! If they are going to chuck litter, hopefully they will learn their lesson, though, I expect in the real world, they will wait till there’s no one about next time and then chuck it. They won’t forget their ‘humiliation’. Britons hate to be embarrassed, so you use that as an ‘effective litter deterrent’.

I would say that I hsve never had a problem, as I tend to ‘disarm them’ with polite ness (as best as possible, as they are really anti-social, selfish, dirty and annoying!’


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