A few thoughts on Cigarette butts

Because of some recent news stories, I’ve been thinking about cigarette butts today. I’ve never been a smoker, but I spent a lot of time, mostly during Basic Training and AIT with the US Army, picking up discarded cigarette butts.

Early this year, a homeless man accidentally started a fire because his cook fire got away from him and burned the wooded area he was in. “He should know better than to have an open fire in the middle of a drought,” they said and he was charged with felonies. More recently, a woman accidentally started a fire because of an improperly discarded cigarette. If anything, the drought is worse now, but should she “know better” than to toss fire around? No, it’s “just an accident,” they say and no charges are filed.

Today in the Statesman, there was a letter to the editor about the plastic bag ban. The letter writer, James Jones said, “If you keep the ban, don’t stop there. Let’s do those nasty plastic diapers next, then the awful cigarette butts, then Styrofoam takeout containers.” Actually, let’s put cigarettes at the top of that list, even above the plastic bags. Plastic bags are great for used cat litter. There are no good uses for used cigarette butts. So let’s take Mr. Jones’ 5cents per bag proposal and apply it to cigarettes (on top of the existing taxes) but instead of splitting the proceeds, put them all toward litter clean-up, or wildfire operations, or even Stop-Smoking programs. But please, let’s not continue to let these vandals get away with wantonly tossing fire around.


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