One Small Act - One Big Impact
It may not seem like something that's important, but I've always been amazed at how flippantly people will toss a cigarette butt out as though it's nothing at all. I've been a smoker off and on for a lot of years. I'm not proud of it, but I'll go with the line my psychiatrist used. "Nicotine is a miracle drug. It brings you up when you're down and down when you're up." It's no wonder that so many people with mental health conditions are smokers.
Cigarette Butts are the Most Littered Item in America
According to riverkeepers.org, approximately 2.3 million butts are littered every minute. They may seem like very small things that couldn't possibly make much of an impact, but being small is exactly why they do create such problems. They easily end up in storm drains and are carried to streams, rivers, and the ocean.
You would be hard pressed to find a beach on the planet that doesn't have a cigarette butt or many washed up on it.
A Simple Solution to the Problem
I'm as guilty of this as anyone. I don't want to carry a cigarette butt with me if there's nowhere to throw it away because I can't stand the smell that lingers along with that used butt. I've made a concerted effort over the past few years to smoke in places where disposal receptacles are available. I've actually made a point to walk a little further to a different bus stop because I know that stop has a trash can.
There's an easier way, and honestly I'm a little annoyed at myself that I didn't think of it before. How hard is it to carry a ziplock baggie to be your collection point? The thought didn't really hit home until I found this pouch provided by American Spirit brand cigarettes at my local 7-11. This pouch just happens to be the perfect size to slip into a pocket or in my case, the exterior pocket of my bag.
It's a little thing and certainly doesn't apply to everyone, but for those of us who smoke, let's think before we toss a butt. Let's do just a little planning ahead, and stop the scourge of cigarette butt litter.