Have you noticed, when you’re within a dozen or so feet of a smoker outdoors, the smoke seems to fly into your face — no matter which way the wind is blowing. It’s a complete violation of the laws of physics, but it happens.
The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors took a first step at this week’s meeting to better control smoking and litter at county beaches and parks.
Such regulation should be cause for jubilation for nonsmoking beachgoers, who often pick out that perfect spot on the sand, spread the towel, settle in — then the guy a ways down the shore lights up, and wham! the air is fouled.
Board members apparently understand that problem, and sent a proposed beach/parks smoking-ban ordinance to the county Parks Commission for consideration.
Not only does cigarette smoke cast a pall over beach activities for nonsmokers, once the smoking is done, the discarded butts become a hazardous nuisance. Seagulls have an affinity for the discarded remains of a cigarette, and the filters can cause havoc in their digestive system.
From the human standpoint, cigarette butts are a complete nuisance at the beach. Each year, during the annual coastal cleanup day, tons of trash is picked up, and by far the majority of that trash is discarded cigarette stubs.
Santa Maria’s Waller Park has the distinction of being king of the butt graveyards. Last year, park officials picked up more than 1,600 butts in just one week.
This is a mess county residents can do without. The board should move quickly on this issue.