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North County is not an Ashtray.

Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
North County Times
September 20, 1999

 

Picture if you will a white toyota pick-up truck, California License number 24C4105, behind the wheel sit what appears to be an attractive young woman. Casually she brings her hand to her mouth and she takes a drag from a cancer stick. Without missing a beat she then throws the cigarette to the median as she drives away. Unable to respond to such lawlessness, you realize you have just entered the Butt-head zone.

Every time I hear someone whine about how cigarette smokers are unfairly singled out for their nasty habit, I laugh in their face. As if they don't have a hand in their own undoing. Yesterday while driving though North County I was amazed at the number of people throwing cigarette butts out the windows of their automobiles. Talk about inciting road rage.

What is it that allows smokers to totally remove them self from the understanding that discarded cigarette butts are litter. Personally I am of the opinion that anyone willing to pollute their lungs on an ongoing basis, has little regard for the environment. Such disregard is evidenced by all smokers. Friends of mine who smoke are no different, and no matter how many times I demand that they not throw their butts on the ground they continue to do so, as if hard wired to pollute.

Thanks to a great deal of work by concerned Americans, it is no longer acceptable to throw trash out the window of your car, Lady Bird Johnson saw to that with the Keep America Campaign. If a motorist is seen throwing a beer bottle or Big Gulp cup out the window they could be fined $1000 for a first time offense. Imagine if this was applied to smokers and strongly enforced, enough money would be raised to fund public mass transit throughout the entire state.

Smokers are inconsiderate, that's a given. As someone who does beach cleanup on a regular basis I can attest to this. I challenge anyone to find any public space, other than Disneyland, that isn't littered in cigarette butts. Next time you are out in public watch the smokers, and see if they don't just flick their butt to the ground, some won't even bother to see that it is no longer burning. Most individuals can't even work up the energy to walk 5 ft to the nearest ashtray or trash can. Much like their lungs, out of sight means out of mind.

Working on local campuses I have noticed that young people continue to smoke, as if this somehow makes them cool. It doesn't. Once seen as a sign of rebellion, smoking is and has always been about being brainwashed by market forces that see profit in cultural addiction. My favorite is all the young Psuedo punk rockers who think they are thumbing their nose at the system, when in fact every cigarette purchased supports the system that they are rebelling against.

I have no problem if people smoke and are fastidious in cleaning up after themselves. Personally I think they should smoke in private, and not bother the rest of us with second-hand smoke. I also believe that smokers should have to pay for their own health care, when it comes to cigarette related illness. Stupidity should not be subsidized. Enough information is out their to convince people to not start smoking, if these warning are not heeded, so be it. Population control comes in many forms, emphysema is just one of them.

 
 
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