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Editorial: Smoke for brains
Other than the known health risks of cigarette smoking — among them cancer, heart disease, strokes, bronchitis and emphysema, it seems a tobacco habit can also make some people a bit stupid.
We’ve all seen them — people flipping smouldering butts out their car window during tinder-dry conditions.
Maybe it’s just because their ashtray is full and they don’t want to start a fire inside their car.
Or the mental giants who light up next to building entrances and air intakes, possibly to better share the fragrant nicotine aroma.
Or the folks who fire up in gas stations near the pumps.
Because, really, that warning about explosive gas fumes? Overblown.
The latest example of stupid smoking tricks occurred on Aug. 27, when someone apparently decided to stub a cigarette out in some bark mulch near 7260 196 St.
Possibly they were not aware that bone-dry plant material isn’t the best medium for fire suppression.
More like kindling, actually.
The result was a fire that spread to some parched cedar trees, which went up like “match sticks” as Township assistant fire chief Pat Walker put it.
The amount of heat from the cedars then ignited some vinyl siding and flames spread into an attic.
Which was when Dustin Favelle intervened. He saw the smoke and flames and pounded on the door.
When no one answered, he kicked it in, determined that no one was home and then got out, closing the door behind him to keep air from feeding the fire and waited for the fire department.
That was both brave and intelligent.
As it turns out, the house’s occupants, including at least two young kids, weren’t home at the time of the blaze. That family is now contemplating the costs of what will be extensive repairs.
All because someone had a momentary lapse of common sense.
Now, we all know there are many considerate smokers, people who check which way the wind is blowing, carry portable ashtrays with them to safely snuff out their butts and drive with their windows rolled up to keep stray embers from igniting grass fires or worse.
The problem is, it just takes one dummy with a cigarette.
As a story here on our website shows, it’s a message so simple, even a four-year-old gets it: Think before you light up and think even harder about how you plan to dispose of your cigarette when you’re done.