Why do smokers get to litter?

Two & Out
By James Peters
July 7, 2017 - 4:30pm

KAMLOOPS — There are many, many things in the world to make a reasonable person angry these days. 

The list seems to be getting longer every week, with white supremacists taking top spot to kick off July.

But nothing is so infuriating, so viscerally maddening as a cigarette butt tossed aside in an act of wanton carelessness. 

Now, smokers have it tough these days. 

Fewer and fewer people seem to understand the power of a nicotine addiction and how difficult it is to break. 

The cost of cigarettes keeps rising, as governments tax that addiction, making millions off those nearly powerless to end their own consumption. 

There aren't nearly as many places where it is socially acceptable to smoke, let alone legal. 

And every time a smoker buys a new pack, that person is faced with a new graphic and disgusting photo of some malformed body part or diseased organ, a fool hardy attempt to dissuade the smoker from lighting up. 

In spite of all those barriers, though, it's hard to evoke any sympathy for the plight of the smoker when so many in their midst feel it is their God-given right to dispose of their cigarettes wherever they please. 

Certainly, there are many who deal with their waste appropriately and responsibly. 

So many others take outright littering as their revenge against the hostile anti-smoking society. 

"You don't want to deal with secondhand smoke? Not only that, you have to deal with the butt, too." 

Cigarette butts do not magically disappear. 

There is no Marlboro fairy flying around eating discarded cigarettes and turning them into new ones for 7-Eleven. 

Someone has to pick those up, and the ones that don't get picked up get washed into our sewer system or river network. 

This doesn't even begin to touch on the hazard caused by discarded cigarettes, one known all too well by anyone who was around this area in 2003. 

Do we not learn lessons from the past? 

Stomping them out with the sole of one's shoe doesn't make it better. 

The butt remains, a nuisance to everyone but the careless individual who discarded it. 

As a non-smoker, I don't get to litter without eliciting some form of social stigma, if not a punishment from the local authorities. 

The same should be true for smokers.