You may have noticed that there is an absurd amount of cigarette butts littered around the perimeter of the PCC campus. This is because on January 1, 2014, PCC became an entirely smoke free campus, and smokers are forced to retreat beyond the school’s boundaries to enjoy a cigarette. But how much harm is this ban reducing?
(Cartoon By: Mick Donovan)
(Cartoon By: Mick Donovan)

You may have noticed that there is an absurd amount of cigarette butts littered around the perimeter of the PCC campus. This is because on January 1, 2014, PCC became an entirely smoke free campus, and smokers are forced to retreat beyond the school’s boundaries to enjoy a cigarette. But how much harm is this ban reducing?

Once the cigarettes are finished, stomped out, and the second hand smoke disappears, the dangers and concerns are certainly not eliminated. Without a proper place to dispose of butts, cigarettes are discarded to the ground, and can be mistaken as food by some young children, birds, or other small, living organisms. The cost of clean-up is daunting. According to the New York Times, the city of San Francisco spends an estimated $10.7 million per year cleaning up littered butts.

When there were designated smoking areas on campus, these areas were accompanied with ashtrays where smokers could dispose of their butts. Now, the sidewalks, grass, trees, and other plants assume the role of ashtrays. Sgt. Steven Matchan of PCC’s police department adds that it is against a Pasadena city ordinance to be smoking while stationary on city property.

As a result, PCC is unable to install ashtrays close to popular off campus smoking areas. Cigarette butts are already far and away the most littered item, so why add to the problem?

“Cigarette butts contain carcinogens that can leach into soil, and chemicals that are poisonous to wildlife, threatening to contaminate water sources,” Legacy for Health explains.

The ban has done nothing more than merely move the “designated smoking areas” from being on campus to just a few feet off of campus (and far away from any area meant for proper disposal of butts). A popular new smoker’s “hangout” is on the sidewalk next to the crosswalk on Hill Street, between Colorado and Del Mar. People arriving to and leaving that part of campus (as well as other areas) are still walking through clouds of second hand smoke.

The smoking ban has done nothing to decrease the amount of second hand smoke. The only thing the ban has accomplished is creating a giant pile of cigarette butts on the streets and sidewalks of Pasadena. If this trend continues, it will not be long until our college is known as the city resident that dumps their waste onto the streets.

Even if you aren’t an environmentalist, at least have some school pride. I do not think I am the only one noticing the alarming number of disgusted looks from passers-by, as they walk by our campus, only to see a week-old pile of tobacco and tar stained filters that blanket the sidewalks.

Comments

  1. I second PasadenaGal. It’s rather sad and embarassing that Sgt. Matchan of the PCC Police force doesn’t know and/or can’t read the law. PCC students – Smoke away in front of PCC on the sidewalk. That said, since PCC in it’s “wisdom” closed all smoking areas on the PCC campus, as PasadenaGirl said, perhaps PCC should consider ash trays, trash cans or something for smokers otherwise it is PCC’s fault there is litter everywhere.

  2. Smokers need to clean up after themselves. They are the most inconsiderate people regarding the disposal of their butts. They just drop them on the ground or toss them out the car window. A little common sense and consideration for others would go a long way.

  3. As a sociopath with no consideration for my fellow man, I can vouch for this article. I am part of the problem, sometimes I’ll put the butts out on the side of a trash can and toss them in, other times I’ll just stomp them and leave them on the ground if there is no trash can. So in a way it does appear that PCC just tossed the butts outside of campus. On the bright side, people who commute by car probably never have to be exposed to second hand smoke on campus ever again, can’t say the same for the people who walk to school though, suckers!

  4. Re: Smoking Ban. The Pasadena Municipal Code Chapter 8.78 TOBACCO USE PREVENTION ORDINANCE says nothing about “standing still on the sidewalk i.e. city property) to smoke” as being illegal as stated by Sgt. Matchan in your article. Therefore it seems logical that ash cans could be placed in the areas where people are congregating to smoke off of PCC’s property. There is no law banning smoking on the sidewalk unless you are located next to a bus stop, ATM, waiting in line, etc. Don’t just take the word of the “rent a cop” from the campus, of course he is a shill for the administration and won’t quote the municipal code accurately. Try printing the municipal code in the Courier, it isn’t that long.

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