I’ve been to a lot of beaches – across the US, on islands, Japan, and Central America. All them have one interesting commonality – butts, cigarette butts, and a lot of them. Its fascinating (and frustrating), to watch a smoker with little or no thought simply toss their cigarette butt on the beach, but at the same moment put their sandwich bag and other trash into their cooler and simply walk off.
How did it become such a habit to toss that remaining half-inch of carcinogenic addiction toward the ground? They (smokers) almost all universally do the same thing. I decided to write this blog today because I was at a stop light and just happened to look over toward a patch of gravel and grass and there were hundreds of butts on the ground. Their damn ash tray is anywhere they stop! And that’s when it struck me, the world is the smokers ash tray, they really don’t seem to care who has to clean up after them, how the butts affect the ecology, if animals ingest them by accident or that someone else might be sitting on the sand next to their addiction excrement.
There was this one time on Maui when my wife and I were in Lahaina walking the boardwalk and this woman, smoking up a storm cloud, was next to us watching the sun set. Just as the sun was going down she exclaims, “my God its so beautiful,” at which point she pulls the cigarette out of her mouth and tosses it to the beach below the boardwalk and starts snapping photos. I gave her this perplexed look of, “are you kidding?” She looked at me like I was invading her space, turned and walked away. If only Maui had a $500 fine for tossing foreign material onto public beaches. Hmmm, not a bad idea, perhaps a letter to Maui’s mayor. I’m at a loss on how to change this absurd and selfish behavior. Perhaps its time to design a new T-shirt.