by Borderstan.com May 1, 2013 at 2:00 pm 0

"Borderstan""Smoker", smoking etiquette, urban etiquette, Luis Gomez Photos

Yes, dear reader, there is smoking etiquette for outdoor spaces, too. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Mike Kohn. Have an urban etiquette wrong that needs to be righted? Drop Mike a line at [email protected] or find him on Twitter @mike_kohn.

Here’s a (admittedly slightly over dramatic) letter I composed in my head as I was heading down 17th Street NW the other day:

Dear guy with the pipe who decided to blow smoke in my face as I walked by,

Did you know that that’s incredibly irritating? If you’re going to smoke on the street, pay slightly closer attention to where you blow it out so you can avoid pissing people off. I realize that it would’ve been difficult to either hold it for one extra second or turn your head, but it would’ve been nicer for me and the couple walking just a few feet behind me. Thanks for keeping that in mind.

Sincerely,

Vomiting on the sidewalk

Now, smoking isn’t my cup of tea, but I really don’t have a problem with it. There are plenty of considerate smokers out there who do it just fine. But then there’s the few crappy ones who really just ruin it for everyone.

  • Don’t blow smoke in other people’s faces. Okay, if that was new or a surprise to you, you really should just not be allowed to buy cigarettes. Seriously.
  • Along the same lines, consider where your smoke is going. Are you hanging with other people? Maybe position yourself so it goes downwind.
  • Avoid smoking in overly crowded public areas. So I’ve seen people smoking at the dog park on 17th Street NW, outside the playground of Ross Elementary on R Street NW and on the escalator going down to the metro. It’s just a courtesy to put it out when there are lots of other people (and cute puppies and kids!) in a densely packed area. Just something to consider.
  • Put it out in an ashtray. No, that doesn’t mean the street. I like seeing a clean sidewalk… which does not include stepping in tobacco from the cigarette that was split open.

Kapish?

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by Borderstan.com March 5, 2012 at 10:00 am 1,912 3 Comments

From Mary Burgan. She normally reviews movies as the Borderstan Movie Fan, but sometimes veers into the area of urban etiquette. You can email her at mary[AT]borderstan.com.

cigarette, butts, sidewalk, environment, urban etiquette

There are numerous reasons to stop tossing your  butts on the sidewalk. (M. Rhoades)

Far fewer people smoke today than they did several decades ago. I believe that in the 1960s, about half of all Americans were smokers,

However, cigarette butts have not disappeared from our sidewalks — and some guests at your home parties are still going to want to smoke, somewhere.

But it is the butts on the sidewalk that are the real danger — to the environment, not to mention the risk of smoking for the individual. That is why there are more reasons than mere etiquette for smokers to stop putting out their cigarettes on the sidewalk.

Cigarette butts are an environmental hazard. They comprise almost a quarter of all litter in any year. And when they are flipped on the street, they get washed from the sidewalk to the sewer and then to local streams and then to the general water supply.

Cigarette filters are not biodegradable; they are made from cellulose acetate, a kind of plastic. As they disintegrate, slowly, in water, they can release toxic chemicals including nicotine, benzene and cadmium.

According to one study at San Diego State, one butt has enough poisons to kill half the minnows in a liter of water — a standard laboratory test for toxins — in 96 hours. Beach communities, like surfer groups in San Diego, are most likely to emphasize cigarette butt disposal.

In the meantime, they may be ingested by fish or other animals – even children.

So what to do about cigarette butts?

One solution: The city should attach fire-proof attachments to public trash cans. The fact is that public ashtrays are few and far between on the streets these days.

The first thing, of course, is to be aware of the problem. But smokers, already feeling under attack for smoking, may resist when scolded about keeping their butts to themselves.

As a former smoker, I speak from experience. And very few of us are going to challenge a friend or stranger, for putting a cigarette out on the sidewalk.

The Place for Cigarette Butts

urban, etiquette, smoking, parties, guests

Throwing a party at home? If possible, provide an outdoor space for smokers instead of making them go to the street. (M. Rhoades)

The first step is to put receptacles in the right places:

  • Homeowners should provide ashtrays for outside events, especially when a big party is coming up.
  • Restaurants should install outdoor cigarette receptacles as permanent features of their sidewalk cafes.
  • Multi-unit residences such as apartment complexes should have outdoor receptacles at their entrances.
  • The city should attach fire-proof attachments to public trash cans. The fact is that public ashtrays are few and far between on the streets these days.
  • Meanwhile, anyone can stub out a cigarette — making sure it’s no longer a fire hazard — and put it in some waste receptacle nearby.

And then … there are such things as personal ashtrays, though few people know about them. Google “personal (or pocket) ashtray” to see a display of possibilities; you can order online. One version actually looks like a human butt!

Most of us are not aware of the ecological damage caused by cigarette butts. Now that you know about it, though, it is time to stop flipping your butts on the street.

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by Borderstan.com January 31, 2012 at 8:00 am 1,635 5 Comments

"Borderstan""Smoker", smoking etiquette, urban etiquette, Luis Gomez Photos

Yes, dear reader, there is smoking etiquette for outdoor spaces, too. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Mike Kohn. Have an urban etiquette wrong that needs to be righted? Drop Mike a line at [email protected] or find him on Twitter @mike_kohn.

Here’s a (admittedly slightly overdramatic) letter I composed in my head as I was heading down 17th Street NW the other day:

Dear guy with the pipe who decided to blow smoke in my face as I walked by,

Did you know that that’s incredibly irritating? If you’re going to smoke on the street, pay slightly closer attention to where you blow it out so you can avoid pissing people off. I realize that it would’ve been difficult to either hold it for one extra second or turn your head, but it would’ve been nicer for me and the couple walking just a few feet behind me. Thanks for keeping that in mind.

Sincerely,

Vomiting on the sidewalk

Now, smoking isn’t my cup of tea, but I really don’t have a problem with it. There are plenty of considerate smokers out there who do it just fine. But then there’s the few crappy ones who really just ruin it for everyone.

  • Don’t blow smoke in other people’s faces. Okay, if that was new or a surprise to you, you really should just not be allowed to buy cigarettes. Seriously.
  • Along the same lines, consider where your smoke is going. Are you hanging with other people? Maybe position yourself so it goes downwind.
  • Avoid smoking in overly crowded public areas. So I’ve seen people smoking at the dog park on 17th Street NW, outside the playground of Ross Elementary on R Street NW and on the escalator going down to the metro. It’s just a courtesy to put it out when there are lots of other people (and cute puppies and kids!) in a densely packed area. Just something to consider.
  • Put it out in an ashtray. No, that doesn’t mean the street. I like seeing a clean sidewalk… which does not include stepping in tobacco from the cigarette that was split open.

Kapish?

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