California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

    Tossing cigarette butts is negligent, and a serious fire hazard

    The grounds of CLU’s campus are littered with cigarette butts.  This year, with more students, more litter is gracing our campus with its presence.

    We are not doing enough to provide those who smoke with places to go, and smokers need to take more responsibility and clean up after themselves.  We need to do more to create an even balance.

    According to the Lansing Community College website, a proud smoke-free campus, littered cigarette butts pose a significant safety risk.

    According to the site, “dropped cigarette butts have been the cause of house and apartment fires, as well as some of the largest and most destructive forest fires.

    Fires caused by cigarette butts claim the lives of about 1,000 people and injure about 3,000 people each year.”

    Barbara Culbert, who works in the business office at California Lutheran University, believes littering is a problem and the safety risks are something to think about.

    Since cigarette butts are littered close to buildings, and since Southern California experiences strong Santa Ana winds, the combination could be dangerous, said Culbert.

    Some students even leave their cigarette butts on the ground while still lit. They don’t always abide with the campus rule restricting smoking 20 feet away from any building.

    However, danger is not the only issue brought on by littered cigarette butts.

    According to Californians Against Waste, cigarette butts are the deadliest form of litter, and in addition to fires, they can cause damage to the environment.

    Cigarette butts can take anywhere from two to 25 years to biodegrade.

    Due to the amount of cigarette butts they have littered on the ground, it has become the most prevalent form of litter on earth, according to Lansing.

    Culbert, a former smoker, thinks this is unacceptable.

    “I’d never throw a butt on the ground. I’d carry it with me if there wasn’t a trash can,” said Culbert.

    We have to be careful as a university not to try to alienate any particular group of students, and that includes smokers.

    So we have to make sure we provide them with proper places to smoke and enough ashtrays, while also providing students with the facts about cigarette butt littering and the dangers it can pose.

    Littering of any kind comes down to personal responsibility.

    “They’re not taking responsibility,” said Culbert. “A lot of people live here. You shouldn’t litter where you live.”

    Culbert also said this year she’s noticed more trash in general than any other year, and that maintenance cleans every day.

    “They do a great job. Our campus is beautiful, and to purposely throw their butts on the ground I think is disgusting,” said Culbert.

    Freshman Sean Simpson believes the litter on campus is a problem.

    “Students throw the butts on the ground making the campus look trashy, which might turn off prospective students from coming here,” said Simpson. “Being a current student here, I don’t want to walk around and see the butts everywhere.”

    There are several things we can do to reduce the amount of litter caused by cigarette butts.

    International student Fahad Saud, believes that more could be done to properly dispose of butts.

    “When I studied at CSUN, we had small ashtrays for the smokers all around campus,” said Saud.

    Culbert thinks a segment in New Student Orientation about litter and cigarette smoking might be beneficial to raise awareness about the importance of this issue.

    Saud thinks more ashtrays would do the trick. He said smokers don’t actually desire any more designated smoking areas at the university, just more places to dispose of their trash.

    “Legally, you have to be 20 feet away from the buildings. It’s enough,” said Saud.

    Saud’s attitude is a good one. He agrees we need more ashtrays, but also says we have the appropriate amount of designated smoking areas, so the issue isn’t about special accommodation, just about litter control.

    When smokers are made aware of the problem, the amount of littering decreases greatly, according to, a website committed to providing information on the dangers of littered cigarettes.

    So the problem might just be a lack of awareness and getting the message across to students on campus.

    We shouldn’t just be aware of cigarette butt littering, but  littering of all kinds.

    We are lucky to attend a school in such a beautiful area on a beautiful campus. Let’s keep it that way.


    Madison Jones
    Staff Writer
    Published Oct. 24, 2012

    Leave a Comment

    Comments (0)

    All The Echo Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *