18 Jan

No butts about it

You've all likely seen it while sitting in your car. I saw it happen three times on my ride home tonight.

Cigarette butts: Flicked out of a moving car (or in some cases, sitting in a pile beside the left-turn lane)

Let's forget about biases when it comes to the smoking laws in this state/country. What I want to know is... why is it ok to fling a cigarette butt out the window?

I personally claim it's ignorance in most cases, or simply a lack of caring. Let's view some arguments on why some smokers feel it's ok:

I don't want my car to smell like old cigarettes

Then when you get to your destination, wherever it is, dump it in a garbage! It's really that simple. And if you don't have an ashtray that's removable from its housing, bring an empty tin can and place it in your drink holder in your car. Just like you don't want the smell of old cigarettes in your car, I don't want the smell of old cigarettes on a hot summer day just after it rains, sitting in that left turn lane waiting for the light to turn green.

I don't want the mess in my car

Oh yeah? We don't want the mess on our roads! It's sad that we need Adopt-A-Highway programs to clean up the trash on the road. And now on top of the trash, we have these annoying little butts that are damn near impossible to pick up without a vacuum. Didn't you listen to those movies in grade school about not littering? Oh yeah, that's right, I forgot the doctor diagnosed you with A.D.D. and so you've got an excuse.

It's not littering. All smokers do it.

I'm not kidding, someone actually told me that one day. That's the mentality of these people (obviously not all of them). Those two thoughts aren't even related! Many people excessively speed on the highway -- that doesn't make it right. Littering is littering, whether it be a cigarette butt or your sack of garbage. Minnesota Statutes define it, and the penalty as:


Whoever unlawfully deposits garbage, rubbish, cigarette filters, debris from fireworks, offal, or the body of a dead animal, or other litter in or upon any public highway, public waters or the ice thereon, shoreland areas adjacent to rivers or streams as defined by section 103F.205, public lands, or, without the consent of the owner, private lands or water or ice thereon, is guilty of a petty misdemeanor.

Do you really want to argue your point now? They specifically state cigarette filters and highway in the statute.

It biodegrades anyway, what's the big deal?

True, it does biodegrade, after many decades. So you're right, it is better than dumping your old CFC light bulbs out on the freeway, from a toxicity standpoint. However, it does take a while, and in the meantime is very unsightly. It's nearly the same reason why you can't just ignore cutting your lawn, or keeping your old broken-down jalopy out in the public eye -- it's an eyesore.

It's not like trash, it's much smaller.

Absurd. So that'd be like saying it's ok to steal, just as long as it's in small quantities. Or, tell that to those that have Evergreen or similar lawn care company come out to spray the lawn. The chemicals they use on the lawn can get into your drinking water. Oh sure it's small, but over time, it builds up.

Look people, littering is littering, there's no way around that argument. I'm not the world's biggest critic of smoking, but I am a critic of public behavior. Just as you wouldn't flick your cigarette on the floor of your living room, quit flicking them out your car. Stop taking the coward's way out, have some decency, help create SOME positive image for smokers (i.e. decency not to litter), and give a little effort... it's not much... to take responsibility for the freedom that you still have (the right to smoke). By continuing to litter, you're just fueling additional hatred that non-smokers have for smokers.

Categories: Gripe