Criminal composting

Oregon’s recently implemented indoor smoking ban has had the predictable unintended consequence of causing more cigarette butts to be dropped on the ground. Littering butts is already against the law, but the Oregon legislature is considering singling out smokers once again for special treatment:

The environmental consequences are much serious than I realized. Still, the answer isn’t House Bill 2676, sponsored by Rep. Carolyn Tomei, D-Milwaukie. It’s already illegal to litter in Oregon. The new law would make it a Class B misdemeanor to toss a cigarette, cigarette butt or cigar. Anyone found guilty would have to pay a fine or do community service neatly in symmetry with the offense (Learn called it “karmically consistent”):

Pick up litter, of course.

Like the author of the piece quoted, I think a new law is overkill here. But as long as we’re taking the idiots in Salem seriously, it’s worth pointing out that the legislation’s logic should exclude cigars. Unlike filtered cigarettes, cigars consist of entirely of leaves and a tiny bit of pectin or other natural glue to hold them together. They’re entirely biodegradable as long as the band is removed. If a cigar butt is litter, a single tree litters several hundred times more than any stogie smoker.

Being a cigar smoker in Oregon is hard enough as is. Let’s not make it an even more criminal past time.


2 thoughts on “Criminal composting”

  1. I recently got ticketed for tossing out an unlit cigarette butt out of my window and charged with a misdomeanor for it. The policeman was rude and threating to toss me in jail for a crime i knew nothing about. My car doesn’t come with an ashtray in it. I am careful to never toss out a lit cigarette. I pay
    taxes in this state, and would assume that I am employing a person, i.e. “street cleaner ” to pick up my debri that I pay a service for. I understand that the majority of the public doesn’t smoke these days, but this is taking it a
    bit too far. I understand that this new law failed twice before. So what, are the police going to stand around and ticket every “smoker they see now.”
    Equally, I have never heard of this new law. Maybe it was made public somewhere, but shouldn’t warnings be given out before tax-payers are ticketed and threaten to be tossed in jail.

    This is a bad law.

  2. I think other addictions such as alcohol or food don’t create the same second-hand pollutants that smoking does. It isn’t about fairness, it’s about being able to live a healthy lifestyle that is not dependant on whether someone else wants to light up.

Comments are closed.