That Burns My Biscuits!

Published 8:56 am Tuesday, August 20, 2019

E.J. Smith

Hello Elizabethton,

I hope everyone is enjoying the wonderful weather we have in Upper East Tennessee during the summer. We are truly lucky that there is so much to do in our area and that one would have a hard time complaining about being bored. Most of the local activities are free and we should appreciate them by doing our part to keep the areas clean and safe for our children. However, some people do not do this and I want to remind them today how important it is to refrain from littering, but most important, to stop throwing cigarette butts on a playground.

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Having been blessed with a grandchild late in life, I enjoy playing with her at a little park almost daily. She is blessed with four grandmothers, myself and Mimi and two wonderful great-grandmothers. The other day there were three of us and her favorite aunt with her and did we all have fun! Funny that I am the same age as the greats, but being blessed late in life is an added bonus for my old age, don’t you think?

There is one troubling thing about the little park we frequent: There are cigarette butts lying all over the playground. Our grandchild is almost 3 and still will pick up things off the ground to inspect and maybe taste. I have reminded y’all before of how toxic cigarette butts are, so will not say it again, but think of the dangers in them for small children.

First of all, why are you smoking around your children? It is not only unsafe, but how can you concentrate on the child when you are puffing away, knowing that it only takes a slight touch with a cigarette to burn him or her when playing? What about the second-hand smoke? Even outdoors, it can get into little lungs and damage them. No matter how careful one is, it is still not acceptable to smoke while you are playing with your children. Then, there is the litter. What a dangerous mess!

I know that many people do not give a thought to tossing a cigarette on the ground, but it is littering and is wrong. Would you want your or someone else’s kid to taste a butt? Well, the very young ones will as soon as an adult’s head is turned, if only for a second. Remember that and visualize it. Besides the toxins in the butts, kids can choke on them. They can also pick up diseases from putting their mouths on them and trust me, they will because they do not realize how hazardous they are. Children see and believe; if they see you smoking, they probably will too and if they see you littering, they will litter. No one wants to teach their child these harmful habits, right?

How do we stop this terrible habit of tossing cigarette butts on a playground? I hope the persons who do it will read this column and learn how bad it is to do such a thing. Another possible remedy is to place NO SMOKING signs at the entrance of playgrounds. Then, another sign that reminds smokers to not toss butts anywhere except the ashtray or trash can. Prosecute those who continue this dangerous habit as there are some who have to pay a fine before they learn to stop doing illegal and harmful stuff.

We cannot right every wrong in the world, but we can control how much we contribute to stopping peoples’ behaviors that endanger others and the environment by littering the ground with anything, including dangerous cigarette butts. Before you do such a thing, think about your children and grandchildren. The world will be a bad enough place in their future, let us do what we can to ensure that we leave a safe and clean place for them to play and to learn.

Thanks to all the readers who have sent suggestions. I always look forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas and love to share with readers what you think.

You are in my prayers,