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Filthy Habit Monday December 19, 2011

Filthy Habit

We have all heard smoking cigarettes described as a filthy habit. I will not comment on that one way or another. Smoking is a personal choice. But since smoking has been banned in most public places I think it has come to be an even filthier habit. Let me explain.

It used to be that there were ashtrays everywhere - inside and outside. So when someone finished a cigarette at a restaurant patio or Starbucks, the cigarette was generally deposited in an ashtray. But now if smoking is prohibited there are no ashtrays. As a result the ground is littered with cigarette butts. Cigarette butts that end up being swept into the storm sewers and ultimately may end up in your water supply system. Cigarette butts that end up being swallowed by fish and birds. Cigarette butts that are made of acetate, a form of plastic, which is not easily degraded in the environment.

I wonder how many millions of cigarette butts this scenario applies to EACH DAY.

The other day I saw a woman smoking in her car. Fine. But when she was finished she threw the cigarette out the window. One sees more and more of this. Why. Because smoking is frowned upon and smokers dont want to smell up their in-car ashtray with cigarette butts. So everything goes out the window and onto the street.

And of course there is the guy who smokes in the car, and then empties his full ashtray onto the parking lot because he is too lazy to walk to the garbage can, 30 feet away.

Throwing a cigarette butt on the ground is just as much littering as throwing a candy wrapper, or your sandwich bag on the ground. It is rude and inconsiderate behavior. This is what I mean by smoking being a filthy habit. I dont care if you smoke or not. I do care if you are one of the those that litters my city and my environment with millions of cigarette butts a day.