Letters to the Editor

Cigarette blight

September 23, 2008


To the editor:

This past year, I moved my business downtown. Being downtown is great fun, but one drawback is that every morning, I must sweep up cigarette butts at my entrance. Cigarette butts litter all of our downtown; the sidewalks are a sea of these little suckers!

The smoking ban has been a wonderful thing. However, by moving the smoking outside of our buildings, we now have a new problem. Besides being unsightly, it is most important to remember that anything swept into the storm sewers goes to the river. I would suspect we all get a little nicotine from our drinking water.

This litter is a crime that even Barney Fife could solve. Just follow most anyone with a cigarette and, sure enough, to the ground it goes. How did this ever get to be OK? Until there is a deposit on the cigarette butts, we need to fine people for littering. Then the word would spread about this serious offense, and we could make our downtown a cleaner and even prettier place.

Fred Sack,


Flap Doodle 8 years ago

If I was King of the World (& sometimes I think I already am), I'd require that 25 butts would have to be turned in to qualify to buy another pack of smokes. Each six months, the number of required turn-ins would go up by 5.

Adrienne Sanders 8 years ago

Tom Shewman- no, there aren't any ashtrays. However people could simply put the butt out on the ground and then put it in the trash.

Matt Schwartz 8 years ago

hey barry, i've got something for you to smoke

Jennifer Forth 8 years ago

Add in the butts thrown out of car windows and it is a filthy habit indeed.

OnlyTheOne 8 years ago

Maybe this LTE writer could identify the store so the smokers could avoid it completely.

jonas_opines 8 years ago

Yeah, Pogo, Amsterdam is a real clean city with no cigarettes ever thrown around. Get real. Wonder where the cops are going to come from to follow Mr. Sack's request. More taxes for more cops to follow smokers around and make sure they don't litter? Sounds like socialism to me. neener neener

bizarre 8 years ago

In Mesa Arizona its illegal to smoke in the City.You can get a ticket for smoking in your car!

Ragingbear 8 years ago

Fred, it was like that before the ban. There have been times I wondered if the different businesses were just emptying their ash trays out into the street.

Chris Ogle 8 years ago

It aint me.... I go to Baldwin where freedom to smoke still exists..

BigPrune 8 years ago

Who's Barney Fife? Is that Barney the Dinosaur's last name?

oldvet 8 years ago

I don't know what the fine is for littering but the city could deputize a bunch of us citizens to issue tickets, just like the meter people. I'll bet I could pay my salary plus some extra really quick...

storm 8 years ago

In downtown Lawrence, the designated area for cigarette butts and trash is inside the iron rails that obstruct pedestrians on the sidewalk. There's sure to be one near you.

Flap Doodle 8 years ago


Clickker 8 years ago

There is absolutely no difference between throwing a cig butt out the window, and throwing an empty McDonalds wrapper out the window, yet 95% of the populace would scream at me for doing so, yet nary a word if I throw out a cig. Makes no sense.

Confrontation 8 years ago

Also, it's amazing how many smokers claim they don't smell like smoke. Really? You're just used to that nastiness. The rest of us can smell you.

cthulhu_4_president 8 years ago

I have always been puzzled by the war between smokers and the people who hate them. It seems to be a contradiction to be angry at a smoker, puffing away on a sidewalk, while a semi or city bus screams past, belching out more carcinogens in a single block than a family of smokers would if they were walking all day, smokes in hand. Contrary to (very) popular belief, it is not one of our constitutional rights to be safe wherever we go. If a town or business supports and allows smoking, then we do have the right to not go there. This makes some people angry because they have to adjust their personal habits now to avoid a health risk, so we turn right around and introduce legislation forcing smokers to adjust THEIR personal habits to avoid a LEGAL risk. I believe there is a hypocracy here somewhere. Personally, as a non-smoker, I love the indoor smoking ban inside bars when I go to concerts in town because it can get very hot and a veil of smoke only compounds an already uncomfortable situation. But I will not avoid a concert in Kansas City just because the venue allows smoking. I believe that our constitutional freedoms are more important than my comfort.-I may disagree with what you say, but I agree with your right to say it.

classclown 8 years ago

"Some information on butt litter,..."==========================There's a joke in there somewhere.

jonas_opines 8 years ago

Hmmm. . . R'lyeh is apparently more liberated and practical than I had, at first, imagined it to be. . . .

BigPrune 8 years ago

Where does Barack throw his butts? I wonder if he throws them on the ground. Of course this wouldn't be very environmentally friendly so he must carry an ashtray with him or maybe the secret service has a man to pick them up lest the Russians or Chinese get their hands on one to run DNA tests.

Phil Minkin 8 years ago

It is an obvious fact that most smokers care as little about their community, the environment or good manners as they do about their own health.

Boston_Corbett 8 years ago

Why is Marion so filled with hate that does not want the rest of us to have health?

Grundoon Luna 8 years ago

I am a smoker and I can honestly say that the words, "deadbeat" and "disgusting" are not words used to describe me. I am a considerate smoker. I do not smoke in-doors, I do not throw my butts on the ground. If there is no butt receptical and I can't fashion one myself, I will field strip it - ash and tobacco biodegrade very quickly - make sure there is no fire, and dispose of it appropriately later.I find it extremely amusing that there are people out there that will deny global warning with the mountain of evidence that exists but then scream if someone is smoking outdoors and they may have inhaled x ppb of smoke because some schmuck says its "possible" to get cancer from second hand smoke. Possible is not equitable with probable. I want these schmucks to talk about probability of getting cancer when there is second hand smoke outdoors. It is complete hysteria and most of you nons sound like you are in hysterics.

Larry Bauerle Jr. 8 years ago

I would have thought by now those highly sophisticated and morally superior Western Europeans would have conquered their dependence upon tobacco.

Confrontation 8 years ago

Regardless of how they dispose of their butts, smokers are disgusting. They smell bad and have nasty teeth. Anyone can quit smoking without expensive pills and chewing gum, but weak individuals like to have an addiction.

Jennifer Forth 8 years ago

Ah, the decline of the subjunctive! - Long live the King!As for choice, you can choose to smoke, but I can't choose to breathe. That is the main argument. Freedom to do what you want in your own home is fine. If you want to live like a pig, live like a pig (not to portray pigs negatively of course). But in public? I won't let my stomach that has been ravaged by childbirth hang out of an undersized shirt if you agree to not do equally displeasing things in public as well. It's called common decency and it is on the decline. Otherwise, I might be tempted to pierce my belly button and really freak out the locals!

cthulhu_4_president 8 years ago

It seems very dismissive and counter-productive to label all smokers as "deadbeats" and "disgusting" people simply because they do not enjoy a quality of life that we do. If they are smelly and have nasty teeth, that is their right to live with the consequences of their actions. How can we judge? Their odor and teeth won't affect me, and (as far as I know) there is no evidence that it displays the personality traits of the smoker. Let us please stop the habit this country has of criminalizing entire segments of the population for actions that cause no harm to others (see Prohibition, War on Drugs). If someone is going to bring up the alleged harm of second-hand smoke, I respectfully ask you to read my first post, especially the part about your right to not be safe. @jonas: the elder ones know evil............and it is NOT smoking lol!-I may disagree with what you say, but I agree with your right to say it.

Grundoon Luna 8 years ago

Second hand smoke in enclosed spaces I would agree is harmful. What I said is the liklihood of inhaling 2nd hand smoke outside in open spaces. How many ppb is one giong to inhale with a smoker puffing 10, 15 or 20 feet away. I think not much as smoke rises immediately as there is no ceiling to stop it. Factor in a breeze and I would say nil.

ndmoderate 8 years ago

@ cthulhu and jonas:I have consulted the Necronomicon about this, and smokers would do well to stop littering. If it continues, we might end up having to deal with the Goat With A Thousand Young!P.S. I'm a smoker who pockets his butts for throwing in trash cans later. I also use the ashtray in my vehicle, although nowadays a lot of vehicles are manufactured without an ashtray.

Confrontation 8 years ago

"If they are smelly and have nasty teeth, that is their right to live with the consequences of their actions. How can we judge? Their odor and teeth won't affect me."Have you ever been stuck in a car, elevator, store, or anywhere else with a smoker? Their stench floats around the room. Even getting stuck at a red light behind a smoker's vehicle is nasty. Once the light turns green, you drive where they were parked and you get a nice whiff of their nasty habit. Being the Marlboro man isn't cool, anymore.

james bush 8 years ago

I was a 1 to 2 pack smoker and never considered how obnoxious it was, nor did I notice the litter it produced.Hollywood joined the tobacco industry and made it "romantic", rather like the entertainment industry has joined the liberals to promote the" if it feels good, do it" mentality in these times.

cthulhu_4_president 8 years ago

I truly appreciate your comments, Confrontation, and your opinion is valid. in fact, i share it! The only problem is that is what it is:an opinion. I do not smoke at all, but I allow my smoking friends to smoke in my car as long as the windows are rolled down because I hate the smell, and it reacts with my allergies. My car, my rules. The danger is when we try to carry this emotional reaction to public property. It is a dangerous thing for the government to make laws based around the opinions of (a few of) it's citizens with the end result of basically legislating morality. It is truly a sad thing that a person will vehemently hate another person just because they smoke. As I've said, you're correct. I hate being in places that smell like smoke. A crowded elevator is a great example. But should we ban flatulance while at work if I have to put up with my italian-sausage-for-breakfast-eating coworker when he farts in the elevator too often (I take the stairs now lol)? Also, dealing with your driving argument, it could be said that a pedestrian or a cyclist gets a whiff of our "nasty habit" (driving) anytime one of us gas-guzzlers passes him by. Does he now have the legal right to petition for a driving ban? Of course not! That would be against the "common decency" to let people drive where they want.And that is the real heart of the matter in today's smoking war, a notion of "common decency" such as buffylogal brought up which should let us pass laws to protect this "common decency". The only problem is that common decency is fluidic. Just a generation ago, cigs were a major part of the everyday "decent" working american, and ingrained in our culture. Today, they are less prominent, and that is good. As awareness increases, less people will choose to smoke. However, the concept if "decency" is subjective, and for that reason alone, should never have a law based around it.Again, I'm not trying to belittle your opinion or argue. I can't since I agree! The danger is when we take that emotional charge, and use it to tell someone else that we (as a government) know what is better for the citizens then they do. The very second that we tread on another person's rights while trumpeting our own, we have become a nation of fascists.Thank you for the discourse,-I may disagree with what you say, but I agree with your right to say it

jayhawks71 8 years ago

Smoking in enclosed public places is no more a "personal habit" than exercising my taking-a-wizz habit on the floor of a restaurant. When I have to take a wizz, there is a place for that, called the restroom (in my home I can go wherever I please). Smokers have a place to smoke, outdoors (in their home they can smoker wherever they please). Smokers (and non-smokers) would be outraged if I took a wizz on the floor next to their table at a restaurant.

workinghard 8 years ago

What always gets me is the pile of butts in a parking lot where someone has "cleaned" their ashtray out. They couldn't use a trash can or plastic bag or dump it in their driveway?

Boston_Corbett 8 years ago

Marion writes: "And again, learn to spell."............How can Marion type this with any semblance of a straight face?

lawrencechick 8 years ago

Downtown in general needs a giant powerwashing- I would invest in one if I owned a store down there, and wash the sidewalk in front of my store once a week. I often wonder if places like Miltons or Tellers ever really wash those outside tables or railings. When I watch people eat out there I think of what's been wiped on those tables the night before. Ewwww....

cds 8 years ago

Confrontation (Anonymous) says: "If they are smelly and have nasty teeth, that is their right to live with the consequences of their actions. How can we judge? Their odor and teeth won't affect me."Have you ever been stuck in a car, elevator, store, or anywhere else with a smoker? Their stench floats around the room. Even getting stuck at a red light behind a smoker's vehicle is nasty. Once the light turns green, you drive where they were parked and you get a nice whiff of their nasty habit. Being the Marlboro man isn't cool, anymore.___I feel the same way about people who drench themselves with perfume/cologne. I love going to a restaurant and having to gag on the overpowering smell of someones obnoxious perfume over my food. And any car, elevator, store, or anywhere else with an over applying perfume wearer goes in public.

Boston_Corbett 8 years ago

Marion writes: "How absurd but also how typical of the Left to both inject a Red Herring and lies in the same sentence.">>>>>>>>>>>How can Marion claim it is the "Left" who is behind smoking ordinances when these started here in the Leftie town of Olathe, and most recently, in that commie towns of Wichita and Dodge City. Red Herring indeed.

Flap Doodle 8 years ago

Yourburningquestionis beingignoredoncemore,girlfriend.Haveasmoke&abrew&calmdown.

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 8 years ago

cheese: "How long does it take for a butt to biodegrade?Oh, that's right - they don't!"Simple: eliminate the nonbiodegradable component.Kick butts. Problem solved.

skinnee11 8 years ago

Really? You're complaining about the 3-5 minutes a day it takes you to do some honest work? Get. Over. Yourself.

Boston_Corbett 8 years ago

Marion writes: "Now as far as the butts go; you could have left them indoors in designated smoking establishments but no; people are not to be allowed to make a choice except the choice whether or not to kill a baby in the womb.Non-smokers are not smart enough to stay out of smoking establishments or are like zombies and compelled by unseen forces to enter such places and then b*tch.".............................Why is Marion filled with so much hate towards healthy people and environments?

Boston_Corbett 8 years ago

Marion writes: "I blame the parents for the hatred of this country ingrained in the boy, not the child; his intentions are good but misplaced and ill-advised.">>>>>>>>>Why is Marion such an expert at recognizing "hate" in others?

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