We all know that smoking bans reduce the number of heart attacks by 40% and absolutely do not, repeat not, lead to a fall in bar sales. Now we know that they also cut car crime by 80%.
The smoking ban has helped reduce car offences in Gedling, says a crime expert.
Smokers who go outside for a cigarette are acting as "extra pairs of eyes" and deterring criminals, says Bob Vaughan-Newton.
Since the ban came into force in July 2007, there has been an 80% drop in auto crime in the borough.
Has there, by jingo? Let's see your figures then, sunshine.
Latest figures for Gedling North, which includes Arnold, Daybrook, Woodborough and Ravenshead, show it has dropped by nearly a quarter in the last year, with 287 recorded crimes between April 2009 and this January compared to 378 in the same period the previous year.
But the smoking ban was introduced in July 2007. How about showing us how the crime changed in July-June 07/08 compared to the same period in 06/07?
No? Nothing? Let's move on then.
Mr Vaughan-Newton, crime reduction manager for Gedling Borough Council, said: "We used to have big problems in Gedling North, and Gedling South as well, with people breaking into cars in public car parks down Mansfield Road and the rural pubs in Lambley and Stoke Bardolph. It was all along the A60 corridor.
"Suddenly, with the smoking ban, there were all these extra pairs of eyes on the car park.
"We've actually reduced car crime in the whole of Gedling Borough since the smoking ban in July 2007 by about 80%.
The very defintion of post hoc ergo proptor hoc. I'm not familiar with this part of the country, but I wonder if there could - just possibly - be any alternative explanations? Let's ask the police, shall we?
Neighbourhood Policing Inspector Andy Crouch said he believed the decrease was down to police targeting problem areas with CCTV and more patrols, as well as moves to make car parks more secure.
"I think it's been down to good problem solving and good visibility," said Insp Crouch. "Car parks are safer now, we've covered them with CCTV.
That would certainly make sense.
Insp Crouch said police had been educating people about the dangers of leaving valuables in their cars, and used signs to make people think twice about leaving items on display.
So nothing to do with smoking ban, then. Anything else?
Mr Vaughan-Newton said the integrated offender team management project, where police keep tabs on known offenders when they are released and try and help them get jobs, had also helped.
This all sounds very plausible.
He said that CCTV coverage had also contributed to the reduction in car crime and that a camera used by Sainsbury's in Daybrook had had a knock-on effect, reducing car crime in the Premier Travel Inn opposite, which also came within its line of vision.
I think we get the idea. Every conceivable crime reduction strategy has been employed in Gedling in recent years. All of this reported under the headline: Smoking ban leads to car crime fall in Gedling.
Interestingly, if you look at the web address of this news story, you will see that the original headline was the less sensational, but more accurate, 'Car crime has reduced by almost a quarter in Gedling Borough in the last year'. Looks like the editor felt it needed spicing up.
The smoking ban. Is there any story too small to be reported?