Earlier this morning I posted about the State of Tennessee’s new smoking ban, which covers most restaurants and bars. I believe that making smoking indoors illegal will cause an increase in another type of crime: littering.
I’m typing this post from the Second Street branch office, aka The Flying Saucer. I live approximately a quarter mile away from the Saucer. On the way down here, I counted the number of cigarette butts that people had carelessly tossed on the sidewalks.
Any guesses as to how many I counted, on my approximately four-block walk?
By the way, I counted only the cig butts within approximately the six feet of my line of sight, not all of the butts on the sidewalks of both sides of the streets. So, really, the number I came up with only reflects a portion of the true number of cigarette butts along my route.
My route, if it matters, was down Main Street from my apartment building near Madison, south to Union, left on Union, down Union to Second, right on Second, south on Second to the Saucer.
Any final guesses?
OK, I’ll tell you.
FOUR HUNDRED FORTY FIVE. There were so many of them I lost count several times and had to double back and check my count. I looked like legendary Downtown homeless person Scratchy, staring down at the sidewalk and mumbling to myself.
It made me realize something. The main reason I hate smoking is not that it’s a nasty habit. It’s not that it’s an unhealthy habit.
It’s that it’s an OBNOXIOUS habit.
Smokers – not all, but many, probably it would be safe to say, most – treat the world as their ashtray. They’ll finish a cigarette in their car and toss it out the window. They’ll take a smoke break at work and toss the butt on the sidewalk. They’ll have a smoke on their balcony and then toss it over the side.
And that’s just one of the ways in which smoking is obnoxious. Another, obviously, is that smokers expect the rest of the world to be okay with the cancer-causing chemicals they release as they indulge their habit. They expect the people behind them at Walgreens or Circle K to wait and wait and wait as the cashier looks for the EXACT kind of cigs they want – menthol, lights, 100s, soft pack. No, wait, I mean, hard pack. No, the extra talls. Do you have any lighters with that? Oh, you don’t? Do you sell matches? Nonsmoker who hangs out with a group of smokers? Congratulations, you’ll get to play the role of the asshole holding an entire row of empty seats for seemingly nobody, because all your friends have gone outside to smoke (unless you’re like me and have publicly stated that you won’t do it).
You know, thinking about it, farting in public makes more sense as a socially acceptable behavior than smoking in public does. But there isn’t a billion-dollar industry buying every conceivable type of ad to convince you how cool farting is.
Anyway, getting back to the issue of all the cigarette butts on the streets: I’d like to see the nonsmoking law supplemented with a new, tougher littering law: $1,000 for first offense of failure to dispose of cigarette butts in a proper receptacle, jail time for second and subsequent offenses. I’d also like to suggest a $250 “Crime Stoppers” reward for anyone who captures a smoker littering via video camera or cell phone video, where the video leads to a successful conviction.
I’m making a lot of friends today huh?
If you don’t believe me about the number of cigarette butts I counted: Take a walk this evening and see for yourself. ESPECIALLY Downtown. I’m serious, I did NOT make that number up, although I admit it may be off by a dozen or so, high or low, because I kept losing count.
More posts to come this afternoon.