I must have been 12 or 13... I can't quite recall. But it was right around that age, where a lot of kids -- myself included -- were casually beginning to think about cigarettes. Heck, at 10 I got in trouble for handing out chewing tobacco on the bus. To be fair, they were Skoal Bandits, if those still exist. I didn't like all the other stuff floating in my mouth.

And then we all took our turns experimenting with smoking. I never got into it, personally. Not for lack of trying. But I couldn't get past the taste. And I was young enough that I never got over the repulsion. Like when you get sick from eating something when you're a kid, and can never even look at it again.

Fast forward to adulthood, and a good deal of my friends are, or were, smokers. And I feel there are two kinds of smokers in the world. Ones who take care of their butts responsibly, or ones that just chuck it out the window or into the street with absolutely no care in the world. As though it's perfectly cool to just litter. Never mind the potential fire hazard. Plenty of forest fires start this way.

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Butts are the #1 form of litter. 4.5 trillion, yes with a T, are tossed annually. Two billion pounds of butts. Why is this ok? According to that same website, 75% of smokers do it, too. That seems crazy to me. To each their own, but the number 1 rule of hiking and camping is to take your trash with you. Again, why is this ok?

Not everyone cares about such things, and I doubt my frustrations will even lead many people to stop doing it. But when I see someone flick a butt out the window, or dump a whole ashtray in parking lot of Hannaford like I saw yesterday, which what set me off on this tirade, I get a bit annoyed.

Maine is a beautiful state. Easily one of the most beautiful places in the world. I just hate to see anything that could tarnish that. I'm no Captain Planet by any means, but I don't litter, ever. It's literally the least I can do. It's common sense. Simply pick up after yourself like an adult. That's what adults do.

Again, I doubt I'm going to make a solid impact, but it doesn't mean everyone should just let it go. You will never be able to justify it. You can only be a jerk about it if you defend it. Just admit you're wrong, and move on with whatever you're going to do anyway. I'm no cigarette police. But you are a litter bug.

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