Taxing Cigarette Butts and the Buttheads Who Flick Them

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom has proposed a $0.33 tax on cigarettes to address the problem of cleaning up butts! This follows an audit (PDF) of litter in the city that found cigarette butts to be a major problem (along with chewing gum, and unbranded napkins).

The cigarette companies are against it:

“Obviously we think people should follow the littering laws, in California and elsewhere,” said Frank Lester, a spokesman for Reynolds American Inc., the nation’s second-largest manufacturer of cigarettes. “But we oppose any additional taxation on smokers to pay for that.”

But, isn’t this a rational response to the problem? The city performed an audit of a costly problem and found that smoking was a major contributor to the problem. A tax on smokers (so long as proportionate) seems like a good way to address the problem. The alternative proposed by Frank Lester would be to use our police resources on enforcement of a minor criminal law, and thus subject his own customers to citation and possible arrest!

Anyway, our culture has become much more sensitive to littering. None of us would throw a Coke can out the car window. But so many of us would flick a cigarette butt, even when there is a receptacle for butts nearby. Why?


42 responses to “Taxing Cigarette Butts and the Buttheads Who Flick Them”

  1. qetzal

    I think this makes sense, but they should require periodic rate adjustments based on the prevalence of flicked butts. That way, smokers would know that if they stop flicking, their tax rate will go down.

    Furthermore, anyone caught dumping a full ashtray of butts into a street or parking lot should be given a choice of either paying a $300 fine or eating the butts off the pavement.

  2. catgirl

    It drives me nuts to see people leaving their butts wherever they please. I wish that someone would enforce the laws on them, but I know that’s unrealistic and expensive. It’s like it’s not bad enough to hover around a door so you can blow your smoke into my face when I walk by (and I’m more sensitive than the average person), but then you’re so lazy you can’t walk literally 3 steps over to put your butt in an ashtray trash can. I also hate it when I see people flick their butts on the ground without bothering to even extinguish them first, and when I see people flicking ashes and butts out of their car windows. I wish I could find a bumper sticker that says “The world is not your ashtray!” When I see people littering, sometimes I will say something to them, but it never does much good. I don’t think a tax will stop the littering, but at least it will pay for the necessary clean-up.


  3. I can see this being problematic in that a lot of the littering smokers may not live in the city (particularly in a high volume tourist city like S.F.). However, I work with now and have worked with in the past a lot of smokers. And people who would never consider dropping their candy wrapper or coffee cup on the ground and keep walking think nothing of throwing their cigarette butts wherever they happen to be walking.

    I also note this propensity positively correlates in my experience with libertarian political views and in fact I’ve challenged one of the most libertarian anti-tax anti-government coworkers (at a government facility where he’s a government contractor) about littering and he says “So? The street sweeper will clean it up.”

  4. qetzal

    @Rev Matt,

    True, the litterers may often live outside of SF, but many of them will still have bought the cigarettes in SF, so they’d still pay the tax.

    Also, I wonder how many justify flicking butts with the belief that they’re sort of natural & biodegradable – e.g. they’re “just” paper (processed wood), a cellulose filter (also processed wood), and tobacco (processed leaves). In contrast, candy and gum wrappers often consist of plastic or metal foil, which may appear less environmentally friendly. I can imagine some smokers might tell themselves they’re not really littering because the butts will just break down harmlessly.

  5. aaron

    I support the tax, but I recommend some norm shifting in addition to the tax-based approach. That’s why I confront and (attempt to) publicly shame each cigarette butt litterer I see in SF. But judging from the state of Market Street, this approach has had little impact. The indignant response I get from smokers is more than a little entertaining though.

  6. James Sweet

    So I confess I have a cigarette every now and again, usually when I’m out at a bar and other people are smoking. (And don’t tell me it’s only a matter of time before I become addicted, please, it’s been like this for over a decade..)

    So maybe I can offer a bit of insight here. I think part of it is that smokers already get comfortable with the idea of littering the butts because of the quandary of smoking while driving. Only the most extreme smoker actually uses the ashtray in their car these days (in my experience, even 2-pack-a-day smokers find the car ashtray thing disgusting) so what’s the alternative? So you get sort of desensitized to the idea that tossing a butt is littering…

    The rest is all cultural, and Aaron is right that “norm-shifting” is what is required. I usually try to do the right thing with the butt when I am smoking, but there is ZERO peer pressure to do so, and actually if it requires going out of one’s way to properly dispose of the butt, there’s probably even some negative peer pressure to do so. (“Just stamp it out on the ground already, sheesh!”) I confess — I’ve tossed butts on the ground before more times than I care to admit. There is just no pressure whatsoever to do otherwise.

    Maybe one place to start would be for bar and restaurant owners to start making a big deal out of it. As ChrisH points out, the butt-littering happens even when there is a receptacle nearby — including outside of bars when there is an ashtray right there. If bar owners started telling the bouncers to be dicks about it when people litter their butts, that would be a good place to start — and would be good for their business anyway!

  7. qetzal


    Why is it disgusting to use the car ashtray?

    I wouldn’t like it because of the smell, but I’m not a smoker. Do old butts smell bad to smokers also, or is it something else?

    (Not trying to be snarky; just genuinely curious.)

  8. natural cynic

    None of us would throw a Coke can out the car window.

    Maybe that’s true of Sb readers, but for society, this is the Denialism blog, right?

  9. James Sweet

    @qetzal: In a word, yes — old butts smell bad to smokers also.

    Stale smoke in general is not a pleasant smell even to most smokers. As I’m sure is clear from my previous post, I do not at all mind the taste of smoke from a burning cigarette, nor do I find people smoking around me unpleasant. However, I really detest the smell of a room where a bunch of people had been smoking, say, a couple hours ago.

    It’s particularly bad if the smoke is concentrated in a small and/or stagnant area. I made the mistake of smoking in my car with the windows down once in the dead of winter, and damn, that was nasty… yuck.

    My experience has been that heavy smokers, while probably less repulsed by stale smoke smell than I am, still don’t care for it. It is a palpably different odor.

    (As a side note, if I recall correctly there is evidence that, particle for particle, stale smoke is also more carcinogenic than the fresh smoke from out of a cigarette. For whatever that’s worth…)

    Also, it’s worth pointing out that a pile of butts in an ashtray looks disgusting to smokers and non-smokers alike. I mean, heh, just because you like chicken wings doesn’t mean you want to see a pile of chicken bones sitting in your car, right? 🙂

    I think that back when people could smoke everywhere, smokers (and probably non-smokers, to a certain extent) were desensitized to the stale smoke smell, so it would be less gross to have your car stink like it. But these days, most smokers spend the majority of their time in places that don’t reek like stale cigarette smoke. The difference is pretty obvious.. even if your sense of smell has been damaged by having recently smoked a cigarette!

  10. To smoke, it is climatic warming? Throw a stub. Exhale some carbon dioxide. Burst. Throw an eye, etc

  11. rpsms

    I don’t see any indication that tobacco products are a large problem in that audit. In fact the audit states that they account for about 10% of total small litter observed during the audit (up from five the previous year) and about 4% for large litter (and lower than the averages for the other municipalities cited).

    From the data, restauraunts area far larger problem. Surely a take-out tax would generate larger amounts of revenue.

  12. catgirl

    (in my experience, even 2-pack-a-day smokers find the car ashtray thing disgusting)

    So because people don’t wan their own car to be disgusting, they’d rather just make the entire street disgusting? If this is true, I think it’s incredibly selfish. Can’t they just clean out the ashtray often?

  13. I’ve been a smoker for decades, and it was only a year or so ago that I learned about the problem of cigarette butts (some internet article about ground-water pollution or something like that) and took to holding onto my butts until I’m at a trashcan (but I’m somewhat unique in that I don’t mind squeezing a cigarette out with my fingertips. Other people mind the burn + as soon a cigarette touches the ground, it’s gonna stay there). While there have been huge campaigns to stop littering, there have been NONE that I have seen focused on cigarette butts. Most smokers don’t view throwing a butt on a city street or sidewalk as littering. If you want them to stop doing it, you need to change that impression. That will be through a media campaign, not a tax.
    I doubt that the tax will work. Once people are paying for the tax, they’ll throw their butts on the ground with impunity and if anyone bitches about it, it’ll be “what? I’m paying for it! STFU!”. Cigarette taxes in SF have gotten so ridiculous that most of the college-educated people I know order their cigarettes online + avoid the tax altogether because it strikes them as unfair. The bay area keeps trying to drive up the cost, financial and otherwise of smoking. Savvy people find ways around it.

    There’s a three-block area in Berkeley that is allegedly no-smoking. Every time I’m there, I see tons of people smoking in it. Once I saw a cop come by and tell people that they weren’t supposed to be smoking there. They put out their cigarettes grumbling and the cop went “I know. I smoke too and this is just getting ridiculous”.

    At the same time that the states and feds are taxing cigarettes like crazy, they offer next-to-no support for people who actually want to quit! Some of that money smokers pay should be going to quit-smoking programs that offer Chantix, bupropion, NRT, CBT, hypnosis, or whatever. My insurance won’t even pay for Chantix or NRT.

    Whether people think smoking is normal or disgusting, I don’t think anyone can think that it’s a good idea to make a group of people feel like a persecuted group (it’s already irritating enough to have groups like gun-owners and store employees who want to say “merry christmas” believing and acting like they’re persecuted). Cigarette smokers already feel like they are disproportionately taxed (want to expand health insurance for children? add another cigarette tax!). They feel like an easy political target. They know that their behaviors have costs to society, but so do a lot of other behaviors that don’t get taxed the same way. Gum is a huge litter problem – why no tax on that? Why no tax on fast food for all the problems it causes?

    If society wants people to stop smoking, which is an admirable goal, it needs to do a lot better.

  14. James Sweet

    @catgirl: Well, first I’m just theorizing that this is a contributing factor. More importantly, there is a lack of cultural conditioning to view discarding of butts as littering. If one is not conditioned to view it as littering, and it’s like, “Hmmm, I have this cigarette butt and I don’t want to put it out in my car,” it’s going out the window before any sort of conscious decision to “make the entire street disgusting” has entered into the brain.

    On a different note:

    Although I kindof disagree with Sam about cigarettes being overtaxed, I absolutely have to agree with him that an ad campaign to discourage people from tossing their butts on the ground would be way more effective. Like I say, the central problem is that there is ZERO peer pressure to do the right thing with your butt.

    I also agree with Sam that over-demonization of smokers is not going to get you anywhere. “You’re just being selfish, you nasty person!” is not a good way to win friends and influence people 😉

  15. Anthony

    Adding a tax to cigarettes doesn’t accomplish the goal, except to the extent that it causes people to not smoke at all — once you’ve paid the tax, you have no more incentive to not flick the butt than you did before. I don’t smoke, nor do I like cigarette butts, but this still seems like the wrong way to go. A legislative fix should actually work to fix the problem it’s intended to resolve.

  16. Gordon S

    Anthony, what options do they really have?

    If the tax revenue is used to hire a few people to go around and sweep up butts all day, then it helps fix the problem.

    I’m trying to think of a solution that would entice chronically asshole-ish litterers to properly dispose of as many butts as a few more city employees could sweep up in a day, and I’m not coming up with anything that seems reasonable.

  17. One office where I worked, they had to smoke outside, and there was an industrial strength ashtray there.
    I observed people doing that ‘cool sophisticated’ finger butt flick onto the parking lot.
    Too fucking stupid to use an ash tray?

  18. @rpsms

    >From the data, restauraunts area far larger problem. Surely a take-out tax would generate larger amounts of revenue.

    The city actually approached take out restaurants and encouraged them to reduce their packaging. I think it was macdonalds with the most amount of identifiable restaurant waste.

  19. And I’ll admit that I am a little sensitive to this issue because I worked in bars for years while in college. I cannot tell you how many cigarette butts I picked up, describe the smell of my clothes (the washer machine water even smelled like smoke!), or what my hands smelled like. The upside was that I had thousands and thousands of marlboro miles and used them to get all sorts of free stuff. You see, the smokers were so cool that they couldn’t even put their packs of cigarettes in the trash–they threw them on the floor, marlboro miles attached!

  20. Eric Juve

    I totally agree with this. I also think it would be a good idea to survey rubbish alongside the road and charge the originators of all the discarded packaging materials a fee based on their contribution. The fee would be calculated from the total cost of the cleanup apportioned based on the percentage. It would be illegal to distribute any packaging without identifying information indelibly printed on the materials.

  21. CybrgnX

    An old question…..
    What do urnials, drinking fountains, and the rest of the world have in common??? Smokers concider them their personal ash trays!!! Yep I don’t smoke.
    The tax on butts WOULD be a good idea except for one thing. They state is run by basic crooks because it wont be used for that. Like all the SPECIAL taxes to date the funds will be thrown into the general fund so the crooks can use it for their more import uses…vacations, retirement benies, trasport costs, gifts, grafts, etc. while they complain they can’t afford to keep the streets clean. And if you think butt chucking is bad now wait til they think they are justified by an extra tax.
    I think it would be better if EVERYONE else would shame them by saying ‘thanks drugy for throwing your shit in my yard’ or somethin similar when this was observed. And yes I do do so I have NO problem calling them just what they are ‘Uncaring drug addicts!!!”. It wil;l do as much good as a tax.

  22. Thought you would like this: Hope I am not butting in.

    Some advice for my smoking friends. You have to understand that the people who are so obsessed with your smoking really are operating from a place of mental illness. One sure sign is that they are in complete denial about the effect of their disdain for your smoking. They usually present themselves in a sneering or angry sort of anger or disgust with your smoking. Some seem to take a sadistic sort of glee that you are paying huge taxes for your smokes. Some will seem to take some form of consolation that you will die, someday, thinking you saved them some money. Once you understand that they are mentally ill, you can move on to responding to them in a healthy way as opposed to just giving the finger.

    You can be sure that this is the way that they operate in the world generally. Some wind up spending their whole lives doing useless studies, or becoming ” health” addicts. Hitler’s’ Germany also had an obsession with ” Health” and eventually ” racial purity” . Can you imagine the ” second hand” effect this type of obsessive mentality has on their coworkers, family and friends? Surely this type of sickness of grandiosity has long term social and health effects on the people around them. Some might compare this type of mentality to a prolonged exposure to mental and physical abuse, however subtle. Children who grow up in a diseased households like this are surely going to manifest symptoms later on that we will pay for in our healthcare system.

    We need studies to see what the long term effects on our economic system this disease has.

    So if you meet some on the street, offer to get them some help. It’s the humane thing to do.

    Some non confrontational comments you can respond with are;

    ” I hope you feel better, now, can I open you car door for you?”

    ” I am sorry I invaded your personal space, shall I grovel for you?

    “There is a Psyche hospital nearby, can I drive you?”

    PS Pick up you butts

  23. Ed – LOL!

    CybrgnX – yep, screaming at smokers + calling them druggies will be as good as the tax – in that it will do no good at all except for making your smoking neighbors view you with hostility. They’ll then feel no remorse for throwing their butts in your yard because they view you as a major douche.

    Again, if people want smokers to stop throwing butts on the ground (1) provide ashtrays. (2) ASK THEM!
    Nobody has EVER asked me not to throw cigarettes on the ground. I have NEVER seen a public service announcement or billboard saying I shouldn’t. All I ever saw was an obscure internet article on how cigarette butts make it to the water + are toxic to marine life, and that was enough to make me hold onto my butts.

    Better than a tax would be to actually enforce the litter laws against smokers – with some sort of PSA giving fair warning that this will occur. Punishment can be either a fine or 30 hours doing community service which would consist of cleaning cigarette butts off the street.

    Personally, I would prefer if SF would spend more time + money cleaning up the homeless off its streets (which is to say, HELPING them, not just locking them up or giving them greyhound therapy) than cleaning up cigarette butts. Rid the city of its butts + the buttiest parts of the city still won’t be any less of an eyesore.

  24. SimonC

    Just a few anecdotal observations from a smoker:
    1. I work on a university campus that liberally supplies ashtray/trashcans. The littering problem isn’t reduced to zero but it is greatly reduced.
    2. I live in/near a popular cafe/fashion/shopping district that is shared by two municipal councils. One side of the shopping strip is provided with ashtrays, trashcans and even distributed free pocket ashtrays. The other side of the strip has no ashtrays, trashcans ie nowhere to dispose of a smoldering piece of litter – resulting in half a littered street and half a reasonably clean street.
    I think, given the chance and the right encouragement, MOST smokers will use the facilities provided. There’ll always be a few selfish asses but they’d be that way whether they smoked or not.

  25. Richard Eis

    I think the extra money should go into anti-smoking campaigns and quitting groups etc…

  26. Yep, the anti-smoking movement has transformed into an anti-smoker movement. Let’s just tax the hell out of them as they will now pay for your child’s health care on top of the already ridiculously high taxes. “None of us would throw a Coke can out the car window.” Must be nice, because where I live it is a common site along with beer cans/bottles and sometimes even furniture or other items not easily disposed of in the trash. Why not a $0.25 tax on all cans and bottles? By the way I always disposed of my butts, but then my son was a cub scout and now is a boy scout and we practice “leave no trace behind.” Wish I could say that for the majority of litters, namely non-smokers. Through community cleanup with the scouts, we have had to clean up after them. But it is a lot better to just kick those fowl-disgusting-drug-addict-child-abusing smokers. We’ll show them with another tax shortly before we can figure out what else to tax them for. I thinks if all smokers quit today, you non-smoker, would be surprised how much more you’d have to pay in taxes to make up for the shortfall. But hey, then we can tax another group to hate and punish, namely the obese, whose ranks those that quit smoking will join.

  27. “Nobody has EVER asked me not to throw cigarettes on the ground. I have NEVER seen a public service announcement or billboard saying I shouldn’t.”

    Has anyone ever explicitly told you not to litter? If not, do you? If so, why should cigarette butts be any different?

  28. Interrobang

    I’ve noticed at least around here that the butt problem has gotten much worse since public ashtrays started disappearing. At least where I live, a “don’t litter cigarette butts” PSA campaign would probably help quite a bit, since people here seem to be receptive to those kinds of ads.

    Also, while we’re at it, could the smokers in the crowd please stop smoking in bus shelters and transit platforms? Nobody likes stale smoke trapped in small spaces, and those big “NO SMOKING” signs are supposed to mean something.

    For those of you who seem to think those of us who are anti-smoking are also anti-smoker, well, if your disgusting drug habit didn’t poison us by proxy, maybe we’d be a little more well-disposed toward you. Shit, I lived with a drug addict for years and he never bothered me except that his habit eventually made him an antisocial asshole, but he wasn’t forcing me to swallow his pills, either. I don’t really have much of a problem with drug use, per se; but I don’t want to have to use your drugs because you’re using in public.

  29. catgirl

    Again, if people want smokers to stop throwing butts on the ground (1) provide ashtrays. (2) ASK THEM!
    Nobody has EVER asked me not to throw cigarettes on the ground. I have NEVER seen a public service announcement or billboard saying I shouldn’t.

    There were tons of ashtrays on my college campus, and people still threw their butts on the ground, often without bothering to extinguish them. I saw plenty of people toss butts on the ground when they were literally three steps away from an ashtray.

    No one ever told me not to toss my soda cans on the ground, so why do you need to be told explicitly not to throw your butts on the ground? Why do you think butts are different from other kinds of trash? Do you really need to be told explicitly that butts are not pleasant and other people don’t want to have public places covered with them? Try having a little consideration. If you wouldn’t toss it onto the floor of you house, don’t toss it on the ground.

    However, there are apparently many people who are truly unaware that it’s rude to toss your butts on the ground, so I think a part of the tax revenue should go to education and signs. The rest of the money needs to go to cleaning, since some people will never stop littering no matter what.

  30. catgirl

    Ed, I’m calling Godwin’s Law. We’re not Nazis. Hitler also drank water and slept at night; are those things evil too? I don’t hate smokers, and I don’t even care about tobacco, except when it effects me personally. If you would use chewing tobacco, or use it any other way, it wouldn’t effect me at all. But I’m very sensitive to second hand smoke; it’s more than just and annoyance for me. I don’t really care if people choose to smoke or not. But when people insist on smoking right next to a doorway, that takes away my right to not get sick. I’m not insane; I just don’t want to breathe your smoke. My brother used to smoke and he always made a point of moving away from doorways, crowded areas, and children. He also made the simple effort to throw trash in a trash can, butts included.

  31. Danimal: I’m going to take it you don’t live in a state where there’s a bottle deposit. I live in Maine and everyone pays an extra $.05 on every bottle and can, if you bring them to a redemption center for recycling your get your $.05 back. It’s a nice incentive not to litter and it works, you see some but not as bad as some states I’ve been in.

    I don’t think the tax is a bad idea as long as it’s not just used for cleaning them up but also for providing public ashcans, notices around the city about not littering, etc. They should be proactive about reducing the problem.

    Ed: I’m sure an asthma attack due to exposure to cigarette smoke is all in my head. It couldn’t possibly be bad for my health to not be able to breathe.

  32. melospiza

    By the way, the vast majority of cigarette filters are not cellulose, but thin fibers of cellulose acetate, a plastic. They do not biodegrade. They cause a big problem on beaches, because seabirds think they’re food and eat them.

  33. @Noadi: You are correct, there is no return deposit in my state, now MarkH’s state. Not sure why. The current idea is to make smokers smoke 50 feet from doorways and remove ashtrays so non-smokers can complain about cigarette butts. That gives non-smokers inventive to kick smokers more (another tax). Yes, their are some smokers who would throw their butts on the ground anyways. Most tend to be young. Most smokers tend to by working class folks. Now they are being taxed to fund the children health care they cannot afford while the affluent do not have to pay more taxes. If forced to quit, the SCHIP bill is not funded. For more see here.

    @melospiza: because seabirds think they’re food and eat them.”

    Do you have any evidence to support this? Most beach smoking bans have been instituted because parents worry about their kids playing with or touching cigarette butts while building in the sand. But in my opinion the true reason is that smokers are not to be seen. I have never heard of or seen sea birds eat cigarette butts.

  34. What is Godwins law?

    Do seagulls really smoke?

    How much do we spend every year on drugs for nonsmokers, just to relieve their anxieties?

  35. Dear Catgirl,

    I looked up Godwins law and I don’t think your calling it here is appropriate. I will refrain from the use of the term Nazis. If you look up the history of the nonsmoking movement in Germany you will find a very compelling similarity to today’s health care enviroment. The key is in what they did with it.

    I don’t think its ridiculous to imply that there is already a form of ” rationed care” for smokers already. In some intellectual circles that might be called a mild form of euthanasia. Morality is a slippery slope.

    As to cigarette smoke itself I am sure that you have been conditioned to believe that your health is at risk by an occasional sniff from some inconsiderate smoker. That may be more of a Pavlovian response than anything else. Unless you are one of the one in a million who is actively allergic to smoke, I would ask you to observe common reactions from fellow nonsmokers and their children to smokers. Talk about preconditioned behaviour. This does not mean smokers should not be smoking away from other people.

    Treat it like a science project and observe the results.

    All that being said, I would love to have just a level playing field. Smoking is “symptomatic behavior”, in that its underlying cause is anxiety. Lets tax all the anxiety related illnesses on an equal basis. Lets tax all the pschosomatic illnesses also.

    Lets go back and find out how long ex smokers have quit and do a percentage basis for taxes. Lets do a full cost benefit analysis to society based on how much we pay into the system, and divvy it up opn that basis.

    I go to the gym twice a week, contribute to my community with work and money, and served in the military. I have paid for health insurance and SS for 45 years.

    If we are going to do ” cost” issues , lets go all the way.

  36. Poor “ed” did you get “dumped” by a “girl friend” who got tired of your “symptomatic behavior?” (I never understood this fondness for overusing quotation marks.)

    Unless you are one of the one in a million who is actively allergic to smoke

    citation, please?

    Science project: I don’t think it means what you think it does.

    Cutting to the chase, though, I personally don’t care if you’re shooting up in the bathroom to relieve your anxiety, as long as you dispose of your needles properly. Same goes for your smoke-laden exhalations and your butts.

    Also, please don’t fart in the elevator. And make sure your catalytic converter works; I don’t want to get a whiff of your smelly, polluting car, either.

  37. When in doubt refer to my earlier post.

    Can I open the door for you?

  38. “Has anyone ever explicitly told you not to litter? If not, do you? If so, why should cigarette butts be any different?”

    “No one ever told me not to toss my soda cans on the ground, so why do you need to be told explicitly not to throw your butts on the ground?”

    I love it when the (presumably) young + ignorant assume that the world they inhabit is The World As It Always Was.

    For anyone who was alive in the 50s and 60s, litter was everywhere. It was no big deal, and most people didn’t think twice about it. Those of you who weren’t alive during those times apparently think that there have always been strong social norms against literring. You’re just wrong. Littering has stopped in large part because the populace as whole was asked, through media campaigns, billboards, and other forms of social pressure, to NOT throw their soda cans on the ground. When my children were in school, they did city beautification days where they would walk around the city and pick up litter. When I was a child, that would’ve been unthinkable.

    Here’s a story about litter in the US that may interest you:

    Unless you’ve walked around for the last 30 years with your head up your ass (entirely possible), you’ve been explicitly told not to litter hundreds of times.

    Whatever you may think of cigarette butts, a large percentage of smokers do NOT view them as litter and do NOT view throwing them on the ground as a problem. This attitude could be easily changed with a campaign promoting a “don’t flick” message. Instead of sitting around fuming at those evil, inconsiderate smokers, why not DO something about the problem? Put up signs. Ask local radio stations to do a public service announcement. But, no. You’d rather do nothing and continue to bitch. Makes you feel so superior to look down on those you consider inconsiderate.

  39. I smoke.

    I do not litter and I do not flick burning cigarette butts anywhere. In fact, I make sure my cigarettes are completely extinguished when disposing of them in ashtrays of any kind.

    I have always been astonished that when I go to the smoking area of hospitals I am accompanied by more respiratory therapists than other patients or medical professionals.

    Though there is only one room of my house that I smoke in, I’m aware of the smell permeating every other room. To alleviate this, I try to smoke outside more than inside.

    It truly irritates me that I pay a tax on cigarettes designed to provide health coverage for children. Though I smoked when feeding my infants who are all in their 30s now, I would not now even dream of smoking anywhere near my grandchildren. Times change, people learn.

    Out of five children, I have two that have smoked. One quit about 5 years ago. The only one who smokes now suffered a seriously traumatic brain injury and nicotine noticeably reduces his muscle spasms — enough to determine whether he feels he can safely drive, or not.

    I wonder if nicotine might be as useful as dopamine if there were a different way to provide it as efficiently as smoking…

    If such a way were discovered, I fear it might be as demonized as smoking.

  40. It’s right, increment in tax can reduce the smoking. It will increase the price of cigars. So it is the problem for regular smokers. Cigar lovers do not need to worry because provides the tax free cigars. One can easily purchase tax free cigars online from

  41. The reality is, until smokers find a better way to kick the habit, there are going to be people who feel like smoking is a burden to them, and should be a burden to everyone else. It’s a selfish thing to do, but it’s the reality. It’s why I have made the switch to electronic cigarettes, and recycle the cartridges. Works great.

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