While smoking cigarettes may have been the “cool” thing to do 30 years ago, it just doesn’t have the same appeal anymore. Thanks to programs like D.A.R.E and warnings from government campaigns such as Above the Influence, the dangerous affects of smoking have become common knowledge. Giving yourself cancer and lung disease just isn’t attractive. Not to mention the fact that no one likes inhaling second-hand smoke from all the clueless people who have yet to kick their nicotine addictions. Nevertheless, people continue to smoke, and all too often at that.
All UC campuses prohibit smoking, but really, the ban is ineffective. “Smoke free” is not enforced well and even if it was, it doesn’t carry over to Isla Vista, where many UC Santa Barbara students reside. Even though it is irresponsible, smoking is an issue among college students and therefore, the The I.V. Recreation and Parks District (IVRPD) is right to try to reduce the amount of cigarette butts littered throughout the streets of Isla Vista. However, I don’t agree that interactive cigarette receptacles are the way to go. People are free to smoke in I.V. at their leisure, but even so, doesn’t it seem counterintuitive to install cigarette receptacles that almost make disposing of cigarette butts fun and entertaining?
By increasing the number of receptacles, IVRPD will likely be encouraging people to smoke in I.V. so they too can use the fancy new cigarette trash cans, maybe just so they can cast their vote in the interactive slots or to just use the shiny new toy in Isla Vista.
I understand that the goal is to encourage people to properly dispose of their cigarettes rather than throwing them on the ground, but I am skeptical of the “positive impact” the IVRPD thinks the new receptacles will have. By increasing the number of receptacles, IVRPD will likely be encouraging people to smoke in I.V. so they too can use the fancy new cigarette trash cans, maybe just so they can cast their vote in the interactive slots or to just use the shiny new toy in Isla Vista. Shouldn’t the IVRPD focus their efforts on discouraging smoking and implement preventative measures rather than sitting idly by and picking up the mess as it comes? For argument’s sake, let’s say the new cigarette butt receptacles don’t encourage people to smoke. What about these shiny new trash bins are going to make people change their habits? Based on the map demonstrating where the receptacles will be placed, it seems that they are going to be placed fairly far apart from each other. How exactly does the IVRPD think this is going to convince smokers to go out of their way to properly dispose of their cigarette butt when they are unwilling to do so now? Because I highly doubt a simple poll is going to be enough of an incentive for most of the busy students smoking in Isla Vista.
Ultimately, I think these receptacles can lead people in one of two directions: either it will encourage them to smoke more often so they can use the special bins, or residents won’t care enough to change their habits and they will continue to throw their cigarette butts on the ground as they have been until now. I can’t imagine a realistic case where the added receptacles will have a positive impact on the enough of the Isla Vista community to truly label the project as successful.
Madeline Ewer remains skeptical that this new project will have a positive impact.