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Tuesday, June 27, 2006 | It appears that some readers are confusing the recently passed beach smoking ban with a smoke problem. It’s really a litter problem. I love smokers – find the smokers at a party and you’ve found the party, really!

But when I participated in a beach cleanup in Mission Beach last week and watched as 140 volunteers picked up just over 5,000 (!) used butts in less than two hours, I clearly understood the problem. The volunteers were just picking off of the surface of the sand – imagine the number of butts lurking deeper in the sand and you begin to understand the problem.

Aside from turning our beaches into ashtrays, these butts are consumed by birds and fish, which then die of intestinal blockage…also not very pretty. Smoke is not the problem. Bravo to the ban!

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