Friday, August 14, 2015

Move Your Butts

Ok, people.... pet peeve time, here.

I've known a lot of smokers in my time - after all, doctors didn't begin to link lung cancer and cigarette smoking, until around 1950.  Even by 1960, only a third of all doctors believed that cigarette smoking was bad for you.  So when I was a child, a significant majority of the adults I knew, were smokers. And once someone becomes a smoker, it's very difficult to quit.

But this post isn't about those who began smoking before the risks were known, or those who began smoking long after the risks were known, or even the difficulties of quitting.

This post is about the NASTY and DISGUSTING  and INEXCUSABLE habit that some smokers have, of leaving their butts wherever they happen to be.

No, I'm not talking about a fire hazard.  Yes, I know that many such smokers will make the argument that the remains of a cigarette are biodegradable, so there's no reason why it shouldn't be ok to just leave the butt on the ground.  But I'm not buying that argument.

First, most cigarettes today have acetate filters.  That acetate filter takes many years to decompose.   That's not what I call biodegradable.

Next, that filter is full of a wide variety of toxic chemicals; after all, that's the purpose of the filter. Every time a smoker drops their cigarette butt into a storm drain, or on the street or in a gutter -  where the next rainstorm carries it into a storm drain, or on that nature trail, the wind and the rain carries that butt into the water system.  What happens then?  Those toxic chemicals leak out into the aquatic ecosystem.   Yes, the aquatic ecosystem is large.  Yes, one cigarette butt is small.  But there's not just one, they add up.

Dog owners aren't allowed to leave dog poop on the ground; we expect dog owners to pick up after their dogs.  And dogs aren't harmful to your health.

If the cigarette butt is cold enough that it can be left on the ground without causing a fire hazard, it's cold enough for the smoker to put it in his or her pocket.  If the thought of that makes you go ewwwww   --  well, that's what I do every time I see one of your butts on the ground.  And if you really don't want to put it in your pocket, then you can carry around a little plastic bag until you get home, just like dog owners do.

Yes, I do realize that there are some smokers who clean up after themselves... and this post is not aimed at them.  Re-read the beginning... this isn't about smokers, it's about smokers who leave their butts around.

I'd say I feel better now that I've had my little rant.  But I don't.  Because before I sit down to my much-needed cup of tea, I have to go clean up the cigarette butts that are in my yard.


  1. Agreed! Plus...the people who flick their butt out of the window of the car. There's an ashtray designed to hold that butt, yet they believe that the street is a more appropriate place for it.

  2. You said it, Girl!
    Way back in undergrad I had a prof who always smoked during his lectures (now that really tells you how long ago that was!). He also always carried a small hinged metal box into which he carefully deposited all ash and butts. Impressive then, impressive now. And so easy to do.