Our unusually dry, hot summer in Oklahoma has an unusual etiquette topic on my mind: the manners of smokers and their cigarette butts. First, the facts:
- 650,000 butts are dropped in OKC every day.
- Each contains 9-30mg of poisons like ammonia, cadmium (batter acid), nicotine and more.
- Total, 5.5 gallons of poisons are released into our environment every day – and that’s just in the OKC metro.
A single dropped cigarette butt might not seem like much to a smoker, just like one sandbag doesn’t seem to make a difference in a flood or one leaf doesn’t seem to make a difference to a tree. When you start stacking those sandbags, though, they make a huge impact – same for the cigarette butts.
Even more concerning than the long-term environmental dangers are the immediate risk of fire. As dry as the land and grasses are in our state, it’s nothing but irresponsible to toss a cigarette butt out of a car while driving. I can assure each and every smoker who does this that wherever they are going, there’s going to be a trashcan available. At the very least, commit to taking care of your fellow Oklahomans by keeping a receptacle in your vehicle for used cigarettes (like a water bottle or some other small container).