A few weeks ago, while I was seeing someone off at the airport, I saw something that reminded me why I dislike cigarettes so much. Or perhaps it’s just that I dislike the behavior of so many people who smoke cigarettes. Actually, I dislike them both.
My local airport is not large. It has 2 runways, one that is used for airline traffic. There is an area outside of the terminal, which is near the short-term parking lot, where you can watch passengers boarding and leaving the jets operated by 2 commuter airlines at the airport. It is common to see people in this viewing are, who are either waiting for someone to arrive or watching someone depart.
I happened to be in this viewing area when I noticed a couple intently watching the aircraft parking area in front of the terminal. Both the man and the woman were smoking cigarettes. If you’ve ever watched someone who is smoking, you’ve probably noticed that their actions of smoking don’t seem to be something they are consciously doing. This couple continued to watch the jets as they were inhaling and knocking ashes from the end of their cigarettes. Neither one of them ever looked at the cigarettes they were smoking.
At some point, the woman apparently saw the person for which they were waiting. She took one last drag from her cigarette, and then proceeded to drop it on the ground and step on it with her shoe. She walked off toward the terminal, leaving her male counterpart. The man remained for a half-minute, taking a few more drags on his cigarette. Then he dropped his cigarette on the ground and stepped on it with his shoe. Off he went toward the terminal to, presumably, join his partner.
I watched this couple and I wondered if they even realized what they had just done. Both of them dropped garbage on the ground in plain view of other people and then they walked off. The interesting thing is that, if someone had just unwrapped a candy bar and tossed the wrapper on the ground, a witness might very well have said something to the person who had just littered. But I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone challenge a smoker for dropping their cigarette butt on the ground.
For some reason in our society, cigarette butts don’t seem to be classed as garbage, even though the law says they are. I’m sure not all smokers behave this way. But I see enough of them dropping their butts on the ground in plain view to believe that many smokers either don’t care or just don’t know any better.