Litter Me This: A Uni Watch Research Project

Did you ever start noticing something that you’d never noticed before — something seemingly innocuous — and then all of a sudden you can’t stop noticing it?

That happened to me recently, and I want to go off-uni today to tell you about it, especially because it has raised some uncomfortable questions and issues.

Here’s the deal: A few months ago I started noticing a lot of empty packs of Newport cigarettes that had been left as litter on curbs, streets, and sidewalks. I’m not sure why they caught my eye — maybe it’s because Newport packs are green, which is my favorite color. Or maybe it’s because the Newport logo looks a bit like the Nike logo (although I’d really like to believe that that’s not the reason).

I should probably clarify here that when I refer to seeing “a lot” of littered Newport packs, I’m talking about an average of about one per day. Not so many people smoke cigarettes anymore (thankfully), and not so many people litter anymore either (ditto, although this project has made it depressingly clear that we still have a long way to go on that front). Still, while the littered cigarette packs that I saw were relatively few and far between, a disproportionate number of them appeared to be Newports.

And that seemed odd to me. If I’d mostly seen, say, Marlboro packs, that would have been unremarkable, because I know Marlboros are the top-selling cigarette brand, so I’d expect them to also be the most-littered brand. But instead I was mostly seeing Newports.

Or at least that was my general impression. But was it actually true? In an attempt to find out, I began documenting the situation by photographing every discarded pack of cigarettes that I came across. If I encountered a pack and didn’t have my phone with me, which sometimes happened, I took the pack with me and photographed it later.

There were days when I saw several discarded packs, and then there were multi-day stretches when I didn’t see any. When I started out, I’d sometimes see something that I thought was a cigarette pack but turned out to be a flattened coffee cup, or a box of cough drops, or a tire-smashed can of Red Bull. (Based on my observations, Red Bull drinkers seem to litter quite a bit, which reinforces all my worst stereotypes about them.) Over time, though, I got better at distinguishing the real thing from the false alarms, even from a pretty good distance. Not the most practical life skill to develop, but it was still kind of satisfying to know that I was improving at something, even if the something happened to be very esoteric.

I didn’t give myself a deadline or a goal at the outset of the project, but somewhere along the way I decided that I’d tally up the numbers once I got to 100 photos. I passed that point last week. As of today, I’m up to 125 photos, which you can see here. And how do the numbers play out? Let’s take a look:

– Newport: 77
– Marlboro (all varieties): 23
– Parliament: 7
– Everything else: 18

As I suspected, Newports are easily the most-littered brand I’ve encountered, with far more packs than all other brands combined. Now here’s the tricky part, the uncomfortable part, the part that makes me uneasy: For the past half-century or so, Newports have been marketed primarily to African-Americans. They are by far the most popular brand with black smokers. So does my little project say anything about black people and littering?

Let’s shift into virtual-FAQ mode here:

Would you consider this to be a scientific study?

Not even close. A hundred-ish packs is a really small sample size, and so is the area I’ve covered over the past few months. Moreover, just because I photographed 125 cigarette packs, that doesn’t necessarily mean that those packs came from 125 individual smokers. A couple of very litter-prone Newport smokers could conceivably have accounted for a disproportionate share of the Newport packs I encountered. It’s even theoretically possible (although not likely) that all 125 packs I photographed came from one extremely nicotine-addicted, brand-disloyal, and slobbish person.

Still, it’s worth noting that the high rate of Newport discards held true in my old neighborhood before I moved and in my new neighborhood after I moved. It was true in Manhattan and on Long Island. It was true in the late spring, the summer, and the early fall. So while this wasn’t a scientific study, the results did seem to be consistent within the admittedly limited parameters of my daily travels.

So are you accusing black people of being worse litterers than white people?

I’m not accusing anyone of anything. I simply observed something and am acknowledging one of the possible implications — which, like I said, is an uncomfortable thing to bring up. But there are lots of other possible implications: Maybe black smokers litter more than black non-smokers. Maybe white Newport smokers (they do exist, although I think they’re a small part of the brand’s market) litter more than black Newport smokers. Maybe white Newport smokers litter more than everyone else in New York, period.

My sense of things, although I can’t find any studies to back this up, is that poor people, of any race, tend to litter more (although this is sometimes due to lower levels of sanitation services in low-income neighborhoods), and African-Americans are disproportionately poor, so it wouldn’t necessarily surprise me to learn that they have a higher rate of littering. Then again, anyone who can afford to smoke in New York, where a pack of cigs now costs $13, probably isn’t poverty-stricken.

Basically, I see two dots here — the disproportionate number of discarded Newport packs and Newport’s disproportionately black consumer base — but I’m not saying those dots can necessarily be connected.

If you’re not saying that, then what are you saying?

I’m saying I’ve noticed something weird, and I’m acknowledging a possible explanation for it. I’m also acknowledging that there are lots of variables in play that make it hard to reach any real conclusions.

So if it’s all just a fuzzy question mark, why are you even telling us about this?

Because it’s interesting, and maybe we can learn something from it.

I’m sure many of you out there know much more than I do about statistics, data, demography, tobacco, and refuse. If any of you would care to weigh in, I’m all ears.

I’d also be interested in hearing whether Newports are the top-littered brand in other cities. So if you want to try to duplicate my photographic study in your burg, feel free.

Finally, I hope this would go without saying, but just in case: Anything involving race has the potential to be explosive. Let’s please keep the discussion civil. Thanks.

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Another NBA throwback: The Warriors revealed their new 1970s throwback yesterday. We pretty much knew this one was coming, thanks to an earlier video game leak. As if to underscore the fact that the team doesn’t really care about anything but the retail aspect, the entire “unveiling” yesterday consisted of a “Hey, this thing is now for sale” announcement. Classy.

If you can get past that nonsense, it’s a good uniform. I’ve always liked it, going back to the Rick Barry days, but until yesterday I hadn’t really noticed the number font. Look familiar? It’s the old Circus font used by the mid-1970s Astros (or at least a close variant). That was a Sand-Knit font, and sure enough, the Warriors’ jerseys with that font were also made by Sand-Knit. Interesting!

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Oh, for fuck’s sake: So here’s something new to be depressed about: Penalty boxes around the NHL have been festooned with Bud Light “Pit of Misery” ads (a reference to this ad campaign). That’s bad enough, but when an opposing player is called for a penalty in Boston, the Bruins actually say over the P.A., “To the pit of misery, dilly dilly.”

People, this is Idiocracy writ large. When the history of this era is written, it will talk about how we let advertising become the tail that wags the dog of our culture. And that history will no doubt have a big ad slapped across its cover. Sigh.

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T-shirt/cap reminder: In case you missed it earlier this week, we have a new T-shirt design, based on a classic woven apparel label (shown at right; click to enlarge). Thanks to some changes at Teespring, we’re offering this shirt in a much wider range of colors and styles than has been possible in the past. Full details here, or just go straight to the ordering page.

In addition, the price of our flex-fit alternate cap has been dropped from $29.99 to $24.99, and Ebbets Field Flannels is running a site-wide 20% sale on all their products, including our Uni Watch classic cap (use the checkout code PLAY18).

My thanks, as always, for your consideration of our merchandise.

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KRC update: The latest installment of Key Ring Chronicles is about what the writer refers to as his “janitor keys.” It’s a nice little story — check it out here.

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An important anniversary: It was 25 years ago today that I published the first issue of my zine Beer Frame: The Journal of Inconspicuous Consumption. It wasn’t the first creative project I’d undertaken — I’d done a few things that were good but not particularly original, and some others that were original but not particularly good — but it was the first one I was truly proud of, the first one that made me feel like I’d accomplished something.

And I really needed to feel that way at the time. I had recently gone through a break-up, was unhappy with many aspects of my life, was going through some serious bouts of self-loathing, and was a few months away from turning 30. I knew I had to change something, so I basically gave myself a self-help assignment to create something I could feel good about — something that could make me feel like I was justifying my existence on this mudball instead of just taking up space. I had been tinkering with the idea of a zine about obsessive details of consumer culture, so I brainstormed a bit, came up with the term “inconspicuous consumption” (a play on Thorstein Veblen’s term), and spent a few weeks writing the text.

When I was done, I had 36 pages’ worth of content. That first issue began with an ode to the Brannock Device and included an appreciation of the Green Bay Packers’ uniforms. Hey, from small beginnings, right? I wasn’t sure anyone would care about my little musings on assorted esoterica, and that was fine, because I didn’t create Beer Frame for other people; I created it for me, because it was something I needed to express, something I needed to create. That was enough.

Like most zines, Beer Frame was nothin’ fancy. I “printed” it — 550 copies for that first issue — on the office Xerox machine when nobody was looking, got some friends to help me collate it in return for pizza and beer, and stapled and folded it myself. But it ended up changing my life. Within a few weeks, I had a column in a local alt-weekly paper. Within two and a half years, I was able to quit my job and become a full-time writer. Soon after that I got a book deal, appeared a bunch of times on TV, and was headed off on the career that eventually led to Uni Watch. And since I finally felt good about what I was doing, my social life changed a lot too.

After 10 issues, I eventually stopped publishing Beer Frame in 2001 (by which time the circulation had grown to 5,000 copies — not bad for a zine). It had served its purpose and run its course, but it remains the pivotal project of my life, the one that changed everything and led to everything else, including Uni Watch. I know some of you Uni Watch readers were also Beer Frame readers — thanks for following my work for such an extended period. That’s pretty special.

So here’s to Beer Frame on its 25th birthday, and thanks for listening. Cheers!

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The Ticker
By Paul

’Skins Watch: The Cleveland Indians have donated $10,000 toward a statue for Louis Sockalexis in his home state of Maine. Sockalexis, a Native American, is often cited as the inspiration for the Indians’ name, although that myth has long been debunked (from our own Lloyd Alaban).

Baseball News: Good story on how the new minor league team in Amarillo, Texas, may be called the Sod Poodles (from Cort McMurray). … Not uni-related but still interesting: If the Brewers and Astros advance to the World Series, it would be a matchup of two teams that have switched leagues (from Mike Chamernik). … Weather Channel hurricane daredevil Jim Cantore wore a double-flapped Rawlings batting helmet while reporting from the Florida panhandle yesterday (thanks, Brinke). … The Syracuse Chiefs’ Brannock Device Night promotion, where I had the privilege and pleasure of throwing out the first pitch, has been nominated for best MiLB promotion of the year. Vote early and often! (From Kyle Fussner.) … Buffalo’s minor league ballpark is getting its sixth name — and its fifth sponsored advertised name — in 30 years.

NFL News: Bleacher Report’s latest “Gridiron Heights” cartoon makes fun of the Titans’ uniforms (from Tom Juettner). … Former NFL QB Colin Kaepernick wants to trademark his facial image. … “Pizza” Hut has updated the NFL team logo arrangement on its boxes. … Back in 1992, reader Joe Hernandez was looking for work and, on a whim, sent his résumé to NFL Films honcho Steve Sabol. To his surprise, Sabol responded with a handwritten postcard (here’s how it looked on the front). “I love how he worked in some NFL-related jargon (‘#1 draft choice — woo-hoo!’) and was gracious enough to tell me that my résumé was impressive (it wasn’t),” says Joe. “A classy guy.” … Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky is wearing a compression sleeve superstitiously, although he may change to a different color because the Bears are wearing their orange throwbacks this Sunday (from Mike Chamernik). … Hipsters: In 1986, the 49ers wore their 40th-anniversary logo as a hip patch, and the Seahawks did likewise with their 10th-anniversary patch the year before that (from Samuel Lam and Michael Rose).

College Football News: Here are this week’s uni combos for Colorado Virginia Tech, and North Texas (from Kary Klismet and Andrew Cosentino). … Rainbowtober will reach its apex this Saturday at Miami of Ohio, which will be wearing nine different helmet designs to support cancer awareness (from John Lee). … Small item buried on this page says Iowa State may go BFBS this weekend (from Kary Klismet). … Ohio State will reportedly wear black alternates on Nov. 3 (thanks, Phil).

Hockey News: The Predators didn’t win the Stanley Cup last season but nonetheless raised three banners to the rafters the other night, which led to a bit of mockery. … Speaking of the Preds, their stanchions now have LED lighting. They were previously yellow (from Matt Henry). … Here’s an interview with the guy who created the Flyers’ new mascot sensation, Gritty. Somewhat amazingly, this same guy used to wear the Phillie Phanatic costume years ago, when he was a Phils intern. … Speaking of Gritty, he appears on Flyers G Cal Pickard’s new mask (from John McMunn). … The WHL’s Calgary Hitmen unveiled three throwback designs based on previous junior/senior teams from Calgary’s past (from @HunterRidgeFarm). … New alternate uni for the Wheeling Nailers (from Matt Farrier).

NBA News: The Cavs have two blue alternate uniforms upcoming (thanks, Phil). … 76ers C Joel Embiid has signed an endorsement deal with Under Armour.

College Hoops News: This is interesting: GWU’s women’s team has left-aligned chest lettering. Not sure I’ve seen anything like that before (from Rob Montoya).

Soccer News: “Minnesota United has a promotional group ticket event this Saturday with St. Olaf College (Northfield, Minn.),” says Brent Kivell. “Anyone purchasing a ticket will also receive this co-branded scarf.” … Pinktober has spread to the Brazilian Football Federation’s soccer ball (from Josh Hinton). … Rangers Football Club has won a legal battle regarding the club’s “RFC” logo.

Grab Bag: Washington and Lee University will replace portraits depicting George Washington and Robert E. Lee in military uniforms with portraits showing them in civilian attire. … The logo for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics has been unveiled. … A high school marching band in Kentucky was left without uniforms after its uni supplier went abruptly went bust. … A pair of high school girls’ volleyball teams went pink vs. pink the other day. … Speaking of Pinktober, universty police at Cal State San Marcos are wearing pink patches. … Good story on the origins of the ’47 Brand (from Tom Turner). … Ontario will allow Sikhs to ride motorcycles without helmets. … The apparel brand Diesel ripped off a punk band’s logo for a pair of very overpriced pants. … New uniforms for the New Mexico State marching band. … Australian auto race driver Tony D’Alberto is asking for help to recover a stolen helmet. … An Ohio school superintendent who was trying to cast an early-voting ballot was turned away from his polling place because he was wearing a shirt with his school logo and colors. The school district had an issue on the ballot and the superintendent’s shirt was apparently considered to be an impermissible form of electioneering. … Whoa, check out the uniforms and gear worn by the 1891 Bowdoin College tug of war team (from James Flippin). … Pinktober uniforms for U. of Michigan track and cross-country (from @run_100mi). … More ad creep: The iconic Sydney Opera House — one of the most famous works of architecture in the world — was turned into a billboard for a horse race (NYT link) earlier this week, igniting a huge controversy in Australia.

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I got my flu shot yesterday. You should get yours too, if you haven’t already done so. No excuses — it’s important for everyone’s health and safety, including your own! And it’s free at most pharmacies if you have health insurance. Do it. — Paul

151 comments to Litter Me This: A Uni Watch Research Project

  • Mangler | October 11, 2018 at 8:15 am |

    “The logo for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics” was unveiled previously. Ticker item is for NBC’s logo for its coverage of the Games.

  • Trent | October 11, 2018 at 8:19 am |

    Do you think that you noticed and picked up more newports than any other brand as they stick out and arent quite as “camouflaged” as other brands?

    Also is marlboro the top selling brand in your specific area?

    • Paul Lukas | October 11, 2018 at 8:22 am |

      1) I don’t think Newports are any less “camouflaged” than Marlboros or Parliaments.

      2) I do not have sales numbers for NYC, no. Fair point.

      • Iain | October 11, 2018 at 8:43 am |

        I thought you were going to reveal that the litter was a viral marketing scheme.

        • Paul Lukas | October 11, 2018 at 8:48 am |

          Ha. Maybe it is and I just haven’t figured that out yet!

      • Alfred Cernuto | October 11, 2018 at 1:06 pm |

        I have a feeling Newport’s are very popular in NYC. I live in the Bronx and work in Manhattan. I’ll ask the workers at the store I stop in.

      • Kyle | October 11, 2018 at 1:31 pm |

        I suggest asking the local cigarette shops which brands are their top sellers and then posting the responses.

  • Jared | October 11, 2018 at 8:23 am |

    I run, like a lot. And when I lived in rural areas, I used to see so much more fast food litter. I always made the same conclusion: poorer people eat fast food, poorer people litter more. It was sad. Very curious to see a similar observation.

  • Ray | October 11, 2018 at 8:26 am |

    It’s obnoxious enough to just throw each of the twenty cigarettes into the street – some smokers have to throw the cellophane-lined pack too?

    • Joe Werner | October 11, 2018 at 8:36 am |

      I believe Paul did a column a few years ago about individual cigarette butt litter, and as someone who shares your views on how obnoxious this littering is, that column was also enlightening.

        • RICKAZ | October 11, 2018 at 9:27 am |

          This is something that really bothers me. Smokers will throw their butts out the car window, even in high fire danger areas. Most cars, or is it all cars now, don’t have ash trays.

        • James Gilbert | October 11, 2018 at 10:22 am |

          “Cigarette butts (CBs) are the most common type of litter on earth, with an estimated 4.5 trillion discarded annually. Apart from being unsightly, CBs pose a serious threat to living organisms and ecosystem health when discarded in the environment because they are toxic to microbes, insects, fish and mammals.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4307979/#!po=87.4046

    • Lindsay Resnick | October 11, 2018 at 11:37 am |

      My neighbor smokes on his balcony and throws the butts out over the railing onto where everyone walks their dogs :(

      I’ve also noticed that he discards his cigarettes (smoked maybe for about 2 minutes… they are almost “full” cigarettes) outside his door in the hallway. Thinking about complaining to the landlord about him.

  • RegalCin | October 11, 2018 at 8:40 am |

    I live in the southeast in the suburbs of upper middle class slobovia. In my neighborhood where I jog 3 miles every day I always see a new littered pack of Newports scattered about DAILY. Since I live in a 98% white neighborhood my feeling has been it is the landscapers who litter these Newport packs in our yards and sidewalks. I can’t prove it and I apologize if my opinion sounds “profiley” or “racist” but I have to agree with Paul here.

    Also, just because Marlboro is the #1 smoke in the country doesn’t mean your neighborhood is demographically “Marlboro-centric”, Paul. Coke and Diet Coke are the #1 and #2 selling sodas but the movie theater I manage in downtown Atlanta sells more orange soda than those two combined.

    Keep up the great work and I appreciate your litter project – please keep us posted on it.

    Btw, here is how I picture you taking these pics of this cig boxes (change the canoe for your bike).
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7OHG7tHrNM

    • Dan in Charm City | October 11, 2018 at 10:57 am |

      Landscapers is a great theory!

    • Pedro N. | October 11, 2018 at 12:18 pm |

      What race are the landscapers in your neck of the woods?

    • Brent | October 11, 2018 at 1:58 pm |

      I work in landscaping. Maybe it’s different up north, but I don’t see many smokers. The physical nature of the job would seem to prohibit that. Most of our customers would flip if you lit up in their yard. Maybe the foreman smokes because they usually just sit back and point?

  • Memal | October 11, 2018 at 8:44 am |

    Re: Anniversary
    Say what you want about Chris Hardwick, but he always encourage people to get out and make something that they’re passionate about. This website gives folks with an interest in designing uniforms and it wouldn’t have been around had you not done the same Paul.

    Happy anniversary and a shout out to all who use office supplies for personal projects!

  • Greg | October 11, 2018 at 8:49 am |

    Paul, I think your assumptions are pretty safe regarding the litter. From what I have read in the past (not sure if it still holds up) average smokers (despite the cost of cigs) tend to be lower income than your average non smokers (take that for what you will). Likewise African Americans have a lower average income level. If income level also reflects littering, it seems to follow that if Newports are the preferred brand in the African American community, and the various facts about income levels are true regarding smokers, race, and littering, it is a logical conclusion that is why you are finding more Newport boxes littered around. Also the demographics of your neighborhood, or whatever neighborhood(s) you are noticing these would come into play. I think worrying about if this is “uncomfortable” is not really necessary. You are simply sharing your observations and tying them to relevant research studies. Putting “upsetting” facts out there is the best way to bring things to light and encourage change. People who “think” with emotion rather than reason may be upset by this, but as a journalist your responsibility is simply to share the facts, not worry about if people don’t like the facts.

  • Matthew Radican | October 11, 2018 at 8:50 am |

    MY opinion is:

    1. Litterbugs are inherently lazy people. They figure throwing down an empty cigarette package doesn’t hurt anything. The city has people to clean up the sidewalks, etc.

    2. IMO smokers are, by far, the most inconsiderate subgroup of people. They think they should be able to smoke wherever and whenever they want to. They also feel that it should be illegal for anyone to establish rules and regulations about where they can smoke.

    When you combine the 2 you’ve got problems especially in a densely populated area like New York City.

    I really don’t think it is racial or even socio-economic. I think it has to do with laziness and carelessness.

  • Forde | October 11, 2018 at 8:51 am |

    I was admire Paul for remembering the dates (which turn in to anniversaries) of certain events.

    • Paul Lukas | October 11, 2018 at 8:58 am |

      I actually had to look up the date for today’s anniversary. I knew it was in October but wasn’t sure of the day. Looked it up yesterday in my 1993 datebook. Good thing I didn’t wait another day to look it up!

      And yes, I saved my 1993 datebook — and all my datebooks going back to 1987. When Brett Kavanaugh pulled out his old calendars a few weeks ago, I was surprised and disappointed by all the people who said, “Who keeps calendars for 30 years?! That’s crazy!” No it’s not. Lots of us save stuff like that. My parents did (just like Kavanaugh’s did), and I learned to do it from them.

      • Forde | October 11, 2018 at 9:03 am |

        I never had a calendar but I put together some dates by googling stuff like “first Saturday in August 1991”. Always nice to look back every now & then.

  • Tony C | October 11, 2018 at 8:52 am |

    what’s the point of the flu shot.. the CDC it’s self acknowledges that it’s only 40 to 60% effective most years..

    • Paul Lukas | October 11, 2018 at 8:58 am |

      I realize this is a hard concept for some people to grasp, but 40%-60% is significantly more than 0%.

      That’s the point.

      • Tony C | October 11, 2018 at 9:13 am |

        most people still get the flu even after the shot though.. but to each their own

        • Paul Lukas | October 11, 2018 at 9:17 am |

          most people still get the flu even after the shot though.

          Categorically false statement.

        • RS Rogers | October 11, 2018 at 11:14 am |

          1) Most people who get the flu shot do not contract influenza that season;

          2) Vaccinated people who develop the flu tend to experience less sever symptoms;

          3) The flu vaccine reduces transmission of the flu whether a vaccinated individual contracts symptoms or merely carries the virus for a short period.

          https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/misconceptions.htm

      • Rick | October 11, 2018 at 9:14 am |

        Getting the flu shot can also help reduce illnesses from other influenza’s that are not the main vaccine. Thanks for the PSA.

      • Eric | October 11, 2018 at 9:24 am |

        There’s also the benefit of “herd immunity,” plus typically milder symptoms if you get the flu despite getting the shot…but I have found there is no reasoning with people who think the way Tony does.

    • Dan J | October 11, 2018 at 1:48 pm |

      I have to get a flu shot every year as a requirement for my job. Previously, I never got a flu shot. Since getting the flu shot, I’ve noticed I don’t get sick as often and, when I do, the symptoms aren’t as bad. Just my 2 cents from my personal experience.

    • w_c_hughes | October 11, 2018 at 5:44 pm |

      Getting a flu shot is the right thing to do. There are a non-zero number of people that CANT get a flu shot (allergies, immune suppressing therapies just to name a few) and they DEPEND on healthy people to get a flu shot. It’s morally upright.

    • mpcincal | October 12, 2018 at 12:36 am |

      Coincidentally, Paul, you posted the flu shot notice on the very day they were giving free flu shots at my place of employment. And, yes, I did get one, as I do every year.

    • Ben | October 13, 2018 at 7:03 pm |

      It’s not it’s self

  • Jay | October 11, 2018 at 8:55 am |

    Hi Paul, I used to own a deli for 7 years in a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood, and my family still has a couple scattered around the 5 boroughs. All in working class neighborhoods. If I had to guess, the reason you see more Newport boxes is because, even though cigarettes cost $13.50 a pack; Newports are sold loose ALOT. I’m not saying I sold loose cigarettes, but I know a lot of businesses do.
    Higher mark up, and less investment for people who cannot afford them. What happens with loose cigarettes is that customers will ask you for the box so they don’t crush them.

    I wouldn’t be concerned with what race is the biggest culprit ( I understand that’s not what you are doing) But from my experience, it’s more people of a certain age. New smokers of around 18-25 (legal age is 21) will litter more because they would loiter more. Littering in general is higher with people who don’t go back home or to work.

  • Peter Wunsch | October 11, 2018 at 8:57 am |

    New York State has a deposit law that charges 5 cents per bottle/can on most items, but not Red Bull. Maybe that is why they are littered more enough.

    And, in that vein, add the 5 cent recycling charge to the cigarette box and the litter will decrease dramatically.

    • Joe Werner | October 11, 2018 at 9:18 am |

      I’ve often heard people say that there should also be a deposit on the butts! Some have suggested it jokingly, others seriously. That might also go a long way to solving the littering problem!

    • Lloyd Alaban | October 11, 2018 at 3:12 pm |

      Potential New York Red Bulls and the State of New York marketing collab? Lol

    • Rob S | October 11, 2018 at 4:51 pm |

      I find it odd that Red Bull cans don’t carry deposits in New York, considering they carry the full 10¢ deposit in Michigan.

  • SkillSets | October 11, 2018 at 8:59 am |

    Interesting about the Newport packs. I’ve noticed it too in many Brooklyn neighborhoods. Cigarette smokers are slobs, no matter what their sex, racial or ethnic origins are. Also seen in concentrated places – cigarette packs of Chinese origin, usually by restaurants, and packs with Cyrillic lettering floating up from Brighton Beach and other areas of Brooklyn inhabited by former Soviet-bloc peoples.

  • Ray Barrington | October 11, 2018 at 8:59 am |

    Any chance you might rerun the Beer Frame articles you mentioned at some point +or have you already?)

  • Eddie | October 11, 2018 at 9:01 am |

    I’m glad I’ve never gotten into smoking, or any of the silly alternatives :::coughVAPINGcough::

    And on litter in general, I never got it, if I’m in my car and have to eat something or drink something, it can wait till wherever I’m going to be thrown out.

    Still, interesting article. I hope pauls OCD leads him to do a fast food litter study.

    • DenverGregg | October 11, 2018 at 9:13 am |

      I see much more fast food litter on the street than smoking-related litter. Small liquor bottles too, but I think that’s just one particular ambitious drinker in the neighborhood.

      FWIW and I know it’s a small sample size, but nearly all of the white Newport smokers I’ve ever known were ex-cons. It seems likely to me that ex-cons would be more prone to littering than people who had never stayed in the greybar hotel.

  • chaka | October 11, 2018 at 9:11 am |

    “And that history will no doubt have a big ad slapped across its cover.” is a GREAT line!

  • Harvey Lee | October 11, 2018 at 9:11 am |

    The color of the Newport packaging may make it stand out amongst other litter. Not many other teal colored products. Marlboro red is similar to Coke red. Just a thought.

  • Matt | October 11, 2018 at 9:15 am |

    I’ve also never understood why throwing cigarette butts on the ground is socially acceptable.

    • DenverGregg | October 11, 2018 at 9:20 am |

      before filter cigarettes were popular (and when there were fewer additives), the butts would have quickly disintegrated.

    • Reynolds | October 11, 2018 at 9:26 am |

      What sucks is when you’re in traffic on a summer day and you’ve got your AC on in the car but the person in front of you wants the WHOLE WORLD to know they’re a proud smoker constantly flicking they’re cig with their arm out the window… that smell inevitably filters back to the front of your car and gets sucked into the ventilation system causing you to breathe it anyway. UGH!

      BTW, does anyone still smoke KOOL’S or Benson & Hedges? Hahaha

  • Reynolds | October 11, 2018 at 9:21 am |

    Interesting story today. Speaking of regional bests, I used to work with a guy who drove a Coke truck. He told me how he’d have to have at least one case of TAB on his truck because there was ONE lady who shopped at one of his stops that still bought it… I asked him also what was our city’s (Indianapolis) #1 soda beverage and he said Mountain Dew was blowing everyone away with regular Coke a distant second. He backed up this claim by saying every morning they’d have meetings scratching their heads trying to figure out why Coke wasn’t tops… I just figured Indy is sorta of a redneck town so it makes sense. (I’m from here so I can call it that)– BTW, the last time I had a “Dewski” I noticed they’re no longer printing the words “Mountain Dew” on the can… they’ve made it “MTN DEW” – Seriously? I hate all this dumbing down in marketing/packaging. KFC, MTN Dew, Duncan, etcetera! Enough already.

  • Joe | October 11, 2018 at 9:21 am |

    Correction: The Des Moines Register article is referring to Iowa State going BFBS. Iowa wearing black wouldn’t really be BFBS since black is one of their primary colors. But it would be notable since they are on on the road Saturday against Indiana and will most likely be wearing their white jerseys.

    • Paul Lukas | October 11, 2018 at 9:23 am |

      Already fixed.

  • Wade Heidt | October 11, 2018 at 9:23 am |

    Cool to see the Calgary Hitmen during their games at the Corral this year wearing some uniforms honouring past teams that played at the Corral.

    The uniform honouring the Calgary Wranglers a bit disappointing. Appears to be mostly trimmed in red with a bit of black. Understand it fits better with the Hitmen colour scheme.

    True throwbacks would have been better. The Wranglers jersey during that time they sported the logo was trimmed a lot in blue and had stars on the shoulders.

    http://www.whljerseys.com/image/cache/catalog/WHL/CalgaryWranglers/Customize%20CHL%20WHL%20Calgary%20Wranglers%2014%20Darryl%20Daignault%20Home%20Jersey%20White-800×800.jpg

    Notable, the Wranglers only wore Cooperalls during the time they sported a jersey with this logo.

  • DenverGregg | October 11, 2018 at 9:23 am |

    a bonus note re: flu shots, though probably late for this season.

    If you work or volunteer for a health care provider, in many cases the provider will set you up with a flu shot. When I volunteered for a local mental health center, my wife and I both got our shots through them at no cost and with no hassle.

  • Brooklyn Pete | October 11, 2018 at 9:24 am |

    Too many moving parts to come to any conclusions.

  • hoser | October 11, 2018 at 9:24 am |

    Not cigarettes, but something that I see with a strange frequency on my tree-lawn is individual sports cards. Every now and then I’ll see one or two baseball or hockey cards laying in my lawn by the street. One of them was even in a plastic case. I never notice them anywhere else, and I am a regular runner.

    I’ve started keeping them and giving them away to my friends as jokes when they have some sort of large life event. One guy just announced that he was going to have a baby, so he got a mint condition Greg Bird Topps.

  • Deforest Maitland | October 11, 2018 at 9:26 am |

    The concept of the Pit of Misery really is depressing and incorporating it into a PA announcement is obnoxious. Reminds me a bit of the annoying appliance store jingle after a strikeout by a visiting player at Yankee Stadium. It’s crass and makes me root extra hard against the Yanks

    • Paul Lukas | October 11, 2018 at 9:28 am |

      True story: After Yankee Stadium PA announcer Bob Sheppard died, they saluted him by having a “silent game” with no PA announcements of any kind — but they still played that jingle after each strikeout. Douchebags.

    • mike chamernik | October 11, 2018 at 10:37 am |

      That’s what that sound is?? I always wondered. It’s even in MLB The Show video games.

    • Bryan Moore | October 11, 2018 at 11:49 am |

      A PA announcement for any ad is obnoxious. The whole “Dilly Dilly” ad campaign for that beer-ish product itself is even more obnoxious. Together, that is brutal. Yet I find the penalty box advertisement to be completely charming.

      I have been going to professional hockey games since I was too young to remember and boards have had advertisements the whole time, and I have always enjoyed spotting the different board ads on TV being representative of the cities they advertise in. (Look at San Jose – lots of tech company ads compared to say Detroit or Boston). As unappealing as I find Dud Light marketing in general, the Pit of Misery concept to be clever use of space and good fun. Moreover, I would argue that it is FAR less intrusive than the now absurd amount of on-ice advertisements. Perhaps I am just numb to the concept, but I don’t find this particular campaign (save for the PA announcement) any more obnoxious than the now beloved “Hit This Sign, Win a Suit” ads of days past.

      • Dan Pfeifer | October 11, 2018 at 2:47 pm |

        I dunno if I’d say *any* advertising PA announcement is annoying. One could easily say any ballpark advertising is annoying, for instance, but there I think most people liked the Schaefer Beer ad at Ebbetts Field, with the ‘h’ and ‘e’ that lit up for scoring decisions. The racing sausages at Miller Park? Technically advertising, really.

        I think the line between tolerable and annoying starts when the ad gets in the way of the functional purpose. I mean, does the NHL now have to change all references to a penalty box in its rule book to “pit of misery”? It’s annoying because it takes you an extra second to think about what’s going on because you don’t naturally associate penalty box with “pit of misery.” You’re forced to deal with the branding to interpret what’s going on.

        I agree that it overwhelmingly stinks. But I’ve had PA ad reads in my time that have added something to the game, not detracted from it. It’s not always clear where marketing becomes trying to fit a square peg into a round hole, and that isn’t always the case. But this is definitely one of those cases.

    • Don Maximo | October 11, 2018 at 9:14 pm |

      I was at the Packers-Lions game this past Sunday and they did something called Bud Light cam, where fans were encouraged to hold up their cans while the camera panned around Ford Field. At the end of the shtick, they showed several fans in Packer jerseys, with bars superimposed over them and “Pit of Misery” printed beneath them.

  • Dave R | October 11, 2018 at 9:37 am |

    Insightful as always Paul.
    I agree with the tone of the other comments, it comes down to laziness, disrespect, and an overall sense of “I don’t give a s***!!
    Littering is a socioeconomic thing. They don’t own where they are littering and have no sense of pride or ownership in their communities.

  • GarbageManDan | October 11, 2018 at 9:45 am |

    What kind of loser takes trash off the street home with him?

  • Sean | October 11, 2018 at 9:47 am |

    I think it basically stems from smokers being worried about starting a fire in a trash can, combined with the above point about non-filters being quickly biodegradable.

    • Sean | October 11, 2018 at 9:51 am |

      Sorry, that was supposed to be a response to Matt’s “I’ve also never understood why throwing cigarette butts on the ground is socially acceptable.”

  • pete | October 11, 2018 at 9:47 am |

    Great piece, Paul. Easily one of my favorite Uni-Watch entries, going all the way back to the beginning. The photos are nice too!

    Probably worth mentioning that smokers in general are disproportionately poorer and less-educated than non-smokers. So if Newports are marketed to African-Americans (who are even more disproportionately poorer and less-educated group), then Newport smokers in general are likely to be poorer and less educated than not just non-smokers, but also non-Newport-smokers.

    I live in a developing country, where “litter” happens constantly and by almost everyone, but “litter” as a concept just doesn’t exist. It simply is not something people even consider; I live on a quiet street with almost no traffic, yet almost every morning, I find a few pieces of trash in the small stretch of grass outside my home. On my way to and from work, I always see trash flying out the windows of moving vehicles; usually water sachets (cheap drinking water is sold in bags here), or other food wrapping. Anyways, all this to say, that I don’t know if links between poverty and litter are established, but I’d not be surprised if there are strong correlations.

  • Greg | October 11, 2018 at 9:50 am |

    The Bud Light campaign is nauseating. When it first came out I remember thinking it was pretty lame but clever enough to be popular, and then behold, the idiocracy fell for it. I am just waiting for it to be played out because I can’t stand it. Worse yet I live in the Philly area which has embraced it even more, and act like it is some awesome part of civic pride and Eagles lore. But I suppose AB needs these dumb ads and marketing ploys given the quality of their beer. I recall reading a blind taste test of the big brands by craft brewers, of Bud Light they said “if I brewed this, I’d go jump in front of a train.”

    • Tony C | October 11, 2018 at 10:09 am |

      well thats why their new slogan “for the many,not the few” trying to get in front of the whole “beer snob” crowd who are saying their beer is piss.. which it is

      • Chuck | October 11, 2018 at 6:08 pm |

        Kinda ironic since AB is taking over a lot of craft breweries

    • mild bill | October 11, 2018 at 12:31 pm |

      This is the first I have heard about the ad campaign.

      When I saw the picture above, my first thought was being confined and forced to drink Bud Light would indeed be a pit of misery.

  • SWells679 | October 11, 2018 at 9:52 am |

    Just a data point:
    The last job I worked in High School (right before I joined the Navy) was in a grocery store in central Texas. I sold a lot of “yo, gimme a pack a’ Newports”. This was back in the ’80s with a large (probably THE largest) Army base nearby. All the Newport customers were black and not necessarily in the Army. “Kool filter kings” were also popular.
    Another useless data point (since we’re talking about trash):
    Without fail, every time I had the closing shift and was put on parking lot duty (bring in abandoned carts, sweep the curb, pickup trash, etc), I found a dirty diaper. EVERY. TIME.

    • Jon Rose | October 11, 2018 at 1:16 pm |

      I found the package to a home pregnancy test in the parking lot of a CVS the other day. Could someone have not waited until they got home to use it?

  • Bat Manuel | October 11, 2018 at 9:52 am |

    I agree with Paul about the Bud Light Pit of Misery. I hate fun too.

  • Ethan Lewis | October 11, 2018 at 9:59 am |

    The Ticker is underselling Dave Raymond’s role as Phillie Phanatic. He was the first Phanatic, and basically invented everything we know as Phanatic behavior. Cool that he turned it into a career designing other mascots, though I personally preferred the Flyers without a mascot.

  • Matthew | October 11, 2018 at 10:00 am |

    The iconic *Syney* Opera House

    Sydney

    • Paul Lukas | October 11, 2018 at 10:21 am |

      Thanks. Fixed.

  • Rich | October 11, 2018 at 10:04 am |

    I never followed the whole Kaepernick and the political/kneeling stuff but I gotta ask…if he WAS playing in the league somewhere, how on earth would a helmet fit properly and safely? That is quite an impressive ‘fro. We he have to cut it? Was it that big when he was playing? Other players must’ve managed, but I don’t recall anyone recent with hair that size. (!)

    • Tony C | October 11, 2018 at 10:10 am |

      wonder the same about Fitzpatrick and Eric Weddle with their beards in regards to their chip straps

      • ThePonchat | October 11, 2018 at 10:49 am |

        Ah, not a bearded one eh?

        The chin strap won’t have any issues fitting with a beard. The straps tighten nicely. The chin is easily snugged to, even with beard hair. The beard hair is no different than regular head hair and helmet fitting on it.

        • Tony C | October 11, 2018 at 11:12 am |

          i do have a beard though i haven’t played football since i was in HS.. but they dont have “average” size beards.. they have those mega beards

    • Thomas | October 11, 2018 at 3:21 pm |

      Same way that Clay Mathews gets his hair under his helmet.

      It’s just curly, the hair compresses.

      http://www.nfl.com/photos/0ap3000000762241

  • Adam B | October 11, 2018 at 10:15 am |

    “Uni-Watch: Come for the uniforms, stay for the ‘accusing African-Americans of being the worst litterers’.”

    • Paul Lukas | October 11, 2018 at 10:25 am |

      “Uni Watch” has no hyphen, Adam. If you’re going to troll, at least try to get our name right.

    • Greg | October 11, 2018 at 2:30 pm |

      Perhaps I am feeding the trolls here but…
      Paul says no such thing. Paul is simply connecting the dots in a logical fashion; if demographic group has a higher rate of y, and y’s are more likely to z, one will then find that group x will also have a higher rate of z.

  • Brian Forosisky | October 11, 2018 at 10:16 am |

    Did you happen to pick up and trash the cigarette packs that you photographed, or leave them be?

    • Paul Lukas | October 11, 2018 at 10:24 am |

      Picked them up — in part to help clean things up, and in part so I wouldn’t mistakenly photograph the same pack twice if it was still there the next time I went by.

      • Brian Forosisky | October 12, 2018 at 2:02 pm |

        Well done. Thank you!

  • Alan | October 11, 2018 at 10:31 am |

    Congratulations on the anniversary Paul. We are all glad you are here with us today!

    Your post today on “noticing something that you’d never noticed before — something seemingly innocuous — and then all of a sudden you can’t stop noticing it?” really got me thinking about something that I’ve been noticing A LOT lately…… Cars/drivers that are driving with the handicapped placard hanging from the rear view mirror.

    Of course those are supposed to be displayed while you are parked in a handicapped space. However, they are supposed to be removed when the car is being driven, because it creates a vision obstruction. You can actually get a ticket for it. Over the past 4 months or so, I bet I’m seeing an average of 3-4 cars a week being driven with the placard hanging on the rear view mirror. I haven’t done any photographing or have any hard numbers, but maybe I’ll start. Although, photographing a private vehicle while it’s moving might be challenging. Has anyone else noticed a lot of this? I don’t do any form of social media, but always wondered if I was the only one that’s been noticing this.
    Again, great post Paul. Thanks for inspiring me to make my observation above. I was noticing it without really “noticing it” until I read your post today!

  • Lou | October 11, 2018 at 10:36 am |

    While Brewers-Astros would indeed be a matchup between two teams that switched leagues, it would also be the second consecutive World Series Matchup between teams that used to play in the same division. Of all possible World Series matchups left, only Red Sox-Dodgers would not be between former division rivals!

  • Perry | October 11, 2018 at 10:43 am |

    We’ve all used the office photocopier for personal use, but running off 550 copies of a 36-page zine is taking it to a new level. Even if you got 4 zine pages one physical piece of paper, that’s close to 5,000 sheets. I’m surprised nobody caught it.

    • Paul Lukas | October 11, 2018 at 10:47 am |

      Eh, 10 reams of copy paper — not so much in the context of a big office (especially in the pre-internet era, when memos were all on paper, not electronic). Nobody noticed. I did it in stages over the course of a week, mostly after hours, plus an entire Saturday.

      The second issue, which I also did on the office copy machine, was 800 copies. The third issue was 1,000 copies, which seemed like too much to do myself at the office, so I started using an offset printer. Cost more, but less work, and the project was making a bit of money by that point.

  • DJ | October 11, 2018 at 10:48 am |

    The mobile version of the site is unusually vulnerable to popup ads today. On a cell phone, it’s really annoying, as the ad takes over your screen completely, with no means of escape.

  • James Gilbert | October 11, 2018 at 10:52 am |

    If there’s one thing that’s been the subject of scientific study, it’s cigarettes and associated materials. I posted one example above.

    My first thought was, are the packages constructed any differently, but I missed that in your discussion. Did you at least do a Google search about cigarette packs and their construction and degradation? While most concern appears to be about filter waste there may be some info that can be gleaned about packaging as well in the literature.

    A quick glance shows studies about graphic design of packages but not construction. A more thorough look may yield the info you’re looking for.

    In conclusion, my suggestion is to look for scientific studies first.

    • Paul Lukas | October 11, 2018 at 10:56 am |

      Not sure why this would be relevant, James. Thanks to street sweepers and other sanitation services, none of the littered empty packs will be on the streets/sidewalks/etc. long enough to degrade, regardless of their construction. Am I missing something?

  • Dan in Charm City | October 11, 2018 at 10:53 am |

    150% EXACT same thing with the Newports in my neighborhood. I live in an in-between “good” and “bad” but mostly good spot in Baltimore. Totally safe place… and I find the same thing. What’s more, I live on a dead end, and nobody in my hood smokes Newports…and there’s usually two boxes a week!

  • Thomas | October 11, 2018 at 11:07 am |

    The Bears’ orange jerseys aren’t throwbacks.

    They’re the current home uniforms with the orange and blue sections flipped.

  • Kaine | October 11, 2018 at 11:29 am |

    I’m saying I’ve noticed something weird, and I’m acknowledging a possible explanation for it. I’m also acknowledging that there are lots of variables in play that make it hard to reach any real conclusions.

    If more internet commentary included this statement, the world would be a better place.

    Great work Paul, as always.

  • RS Rogers | October 11, 2018 at 11:31 am |

    Washington & Lee has claimed for decades that its name honors Robert E. Lee for his service to the college (and by dint of how he performed that service, his role in postwar reconciliation), not his treasonous leadership of the insurgent army that murdered tens of thousands of Americans. So it’s shocking that the school permitted portraits of Lee in military uniform in places of honor. And George Washington maintained a public/private split on the matter of his military service. Personally, he was always most proud of military service, and friends and family knew he preferred to be called “general” than any other title. After all, he was the retired militia colonel who wore a made-up general’s costume when he was elected to Congress in hopes of being appointed to lead the rebel army, which shortly he was. (Talk about dressing for the job you want!) But both as a matter of personal ethics and a matter of political expediency, Washington publicly presented an image of being a reluctant citizen-soldier who wanted to be left alone to farm in peace. So most likely, Washington would strongly prefer to be depicted in civilian attire as well.

    • Cole | October 12, 2018 at 9:19 am |

      I’m just happy/sad that they are naming a building to honor Pam Simpson. She was amazing and a true force, and I was devastated to learn of her early passing. (I was a work study in the art department in late 90/early 00s).

  • Jerry | October 11, 2018 at 11:33 am |

    Congrats on the 25 Anniversary! I’ve been following since the “Page 2” days, and always find logical, insightful thoughts, and interesting, even when off-beat topics. As the site moderator, you have a way of keeping the discussion on point and civil. Did you ever notice that you almost never see uni-watchers raise their voices in an “ALL CAPS” yelling-type comment? Thanks for keeping us out of that gutter.

    I recently hit my 25th at my position, and know, better than most, that a lot of things have to line up in order to get that milestone.

    Here’s to 25 more. (no “dilly dilly” needed)

  • Dubs | October 11, 2018 at 11:43 am |

    Anyone else laugh a little bit about the irony of bitching about the Bud Light penalty box advertising, while the very next thing on this site was a “T-shirt and Cap reminder”, which is essentially just an in-house advertisement.

    Funny how advertising is evil and has the potential to riddle our society for generations to come, unless it potentially benefits our own agendas.

    While I cannot stand all of the advertising in sports, and the world in general, I wouldn’t get on my high horse over any of it while slinging hypocrisy in the very next breath.

    • Paul Lukas | October 11, 2018 at 11:50 am |

      As I have explained countless times (and will no doubt have to keep explaining to people who are more interested in playing “gotcha” than in thinking things through), I have never — not one single time — said I am opposed to advertising.

      What I have said many times, and will continue to say, is that I’m strongly opposed to advertising *where it doesn’t belong.*

      Think harder.

      • Dubs | October 11, 2018 at 11:54 am |

        “Where it doesn’t belong” is highly subjective.

        • Paul Lukas | October 11, 2018 at 12:00 pm |

          It sure is. And I’m happy to have that subjective debate. If you think an ad embedded into a penalty announcement in an NHL game is just as appropriate as an ad for a T-shirt that helps support a website that gives away its content for free — and if you think my critique of the former while engaging in the latter makes me a hypocrite — I look forward to your analysis on that point.

          I’d also like to point out that your accusation of hypocrisy misses the point. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that I’m a hypocrite. OK — so what? Even hypocrites and assholes are sometimes right; even saints and geniuses are sometimes wrong. As I have to say with depressing frequency around here, what matters is the message, not the messenger. Even if you can successfully indict me (which I don’t think you can), that’s not the same thing as indicting my argument. What matters is the idea being expressed, not the person expressing it.

          In other words: If you’re OK with ads embedded into NHL penalty announcements, have the courage to say so instead of trying to make it all about me.

    • Greg | October 11, 2018 at 4:02 pm |

      Wow, if you want to rip Paul for the banner ads on his site that is one thing, but complaining that he is selling uni watch merchandise, on the uni watch site is pretty silly.
      This of course says nothing of the fact, as Paul noted, it is a free website, the ads pay the bills to keep the enterprise going, sports leagues have ticket sales, tv contracts, and other mechanisms to pay the bills outside of covering every inch of their product with advertisements.

    • Daniel Tarrant | October 11, 2018 at 9:06 pm |

      This is one of those cases where I agree with Paul that I don’t like the ceaseless intrusion of advertising into all aspects of sporting events, but I also disagree with him in the sense that ultimately the fans can vote with their dollars as to whether or not it is appropriate for it to happen like it does.

      In other words, I can’t blame the promoters of sporting events from selling as much advertising space as they can if fans are willing to put up with it. If fans want to send the message that they are tired of so much advertising in the games, they can do so by not showing up or turning on their TV sets…

      • Paul Lukas | October 11, 2018 at 9:11 pm |

        In other words, according to Dan, “There’s never any point in critiquing anything. If it wasn’t meant to be, it wouldn’t be happening. If it’s happening, then by definition most people are OK with it. After all, if they *weren’t* OK with it, they’d vote with their dollars and get rid of it.”

        Has it occurred to you, Dan, that my critique may help *convince* people to vote with their dollars? Has it likewise occurred to you that not every problem can be viewed strictly through a market-based lens? Capitalism is a mechanism, Dan, not a religion.

        • Daniel Tarrant | October 12, 2018 at 10:26 pm |

          Paul, we’re on the same team here. I would like to see uniforms (and courts/fields) remain advertiser-free.

          I think the only place we differ is that I don’t see it as a hill that I am willing to die on, so to speak. I think this battle is over, and we’ve lost.

          I realize that as a sports fan, advertising does take away from my enjoyment of the games, but it doesn’t take away from it so much that I am going to stop attending or watching. And I guess I must acknowledge that advertising allows me to watch games for free on television so it’s not all bad.

          But yes, Paul, I agree with you that it sucks. I guess I disagree with you that we can do anything about it.

  • ocbee | October 11, 2018 at 11:44 am |

    If it wasn’t associated with a brand of “boating beer” the term Pit of Misary is a pretty funny substitute for the Sin Bin.

  • Lindsay Resnick | October 11, 2018 at 11:49 am |

    Super interesting stuff. I have now been swept down a rabbit hole regarding cigarette brands and marketing.

  • ChrisH | October 11, 2018 at 12:11 pm |
    • Paul Lukas | October 11, 2018 at 12:12 pm |

      Oooh, good one! Forgot about that one.

  • Oakville Celery Root | October 11, 2018 at 12:26 pm |

    Interesting column.

    A slight discomfort on some of the questions you’ve asked. Not sure if it’s because I work in the most-multi cultural city in the world (Toronto) or live in a more liberal country (Canada). IMO – there’s a slight passive aggressiveness (a very Canadian trait) to the column. Saying that, it is your column/blog, and it’s thought provoking

    I start to wonder (you’re probably not going to like this) if the general change in tone in the US allowing for more open conversation on these types of subjects, whereas Canada is moving in the opposite direction, is playing a part in my discomfort. Saying that, where I’m likely wrong – you always speak your mind regardless – so I maybe over analyzing.

    Re: commercialization (Bruins PA announcements), I wrote a letter to a CFL executive a few years ago on how to improve their league – the general tone – was to think of the same characteristics that attracts one to a small boutique restaurant. I suspect no one read my letter, but find it funny they did some of the things I recommended, the one they haven’t – remove all adds from the field – nothing smells of distant minor leagues than ads pasted everywhere. NHL should take note.

    • Paul Lukas | October 11, 2018 at 12:29 pm |

      What are some of the things you recommended that they *did* do?

      • Oakville Celery Root | October 11, 2018 at 12:47 pm |

        Just some context, when I say a few years back, it was 10 years ago. It was in a forced extended vacation period, and I had been interviewed for a position with the Saskatchewan Roughriders (non football position). So I probably destroyed any chance of getting the position with this long rambling letter. I was trying to demonstrate passion.

        1. I pushed for new, relatively small (so they’re always full or close to full – i.e. the small restaurant analogy) open air stadiums. Now this would have happened anyways, but that has absolutely been the direction over the last 10 years.

        2. The one that’s a bit weird, and you could say debatable, but I recommended for simpler, more retro looking uniforms. Toronto, BC (debatable – but it’s a two color uniform) and Winnipeg all have gone that direction. (there are only nine teams). Saskatchewan has somewhat simplified. Although I will say the CFL still has some absolute messes.

        • Wade Heidt | October 11, 2018 at 3:29 pm |

          -Will give you this. There is some success in no adds painted on the fields in Vancouver and Toronto, but that is more likely due to the sharing of the stadiums with MLS teams.

          -Hamilton did go a bit more retro too in 2012 compared to their previous design, which was a mess. Yet they still haven’t done what they need to do – go back to the yellow helmets!

          Look forward to new uniforms in 2020, 2nd year with New Era supplying unis. It could be great looking, traditional uniforms or a dumpster fire. Hoping hard for the great looking, traditional.

        • Oakville Celery Root | October 11, 2018 at 5:24 pm |

          I would love Calgary to go back to the early 70’s basic red and white look, with the Northwestern stripe. Calgary’s current garb is a complete mess. Off course this is a nostalgia fueled wish. One of my childhood memories was the playoff game played in a Regina blizzard, with Larry Robinson (not the hockey player) kicking the winning field goal (the last time I checked it’s on youtube) I could live with the red and silver look of the early 80’s

          I’m surprised the Argos haven’t created more of a niche following here, going to a smaller outdoor stadium. The success of the Toronto FC has made the Argos a distant 5th on the local pecking order.

    • Drew | October 11, 2018 at 1:09 pm |

      This comment is DRIPPING with Canadian passive aggressive smugness.

      • Oakville Celery Root | October 11, 2018 at 1:36 pm |

        Passive aggressivemess – maybe. Smugness – no. I’m far from comfortable with the extreme political correctness direction my country takes. I have nothing to be smug about.

  • Bobby | October 11, 2018 at 1:18 pm |

    Once I started noticing discarded dental floss picks in parking lots, I saw them everywhere. Who are these people flossing in their cars?!

    • Bill E, poughkeepsie | October 11, 2018 at 8:59 pm |

      I just saw your posting after I posted much later. Floss picks, discarded everywhere !!!! epidemic

  • Brian | October 11, 2018 at 1:30 pm |

    One of my favorite hockey ads used to be on the visiting penalty box at the arena for the USHL’s Waterloo Blackhawks. For a flower shop. Picture of flower, with the words “PANSIES SIT HERE”

    No P.A. announcement accompanied, however.

    That ad is probably only topped by an ad behind the goalie for the USHL’s Green Bay Gamblers by a sport bar that said “HEY, HANRAHAN.” All hockey fans who know “Slap Shot” knows what follows…

  • Holt Hogan | October 11, 2018 at 1:39 pm |

    The Onion has a pretty good take on the Redskins controversy.

    https://sports.theonion.com/should-the-houston-texans-change-their-crude-offensive-1829552721

  • GTV | October 11, 2018 at 2:10 pm |

    So a few points here. The biggest tragedy to me is that the cigarette companies target the “urban” market with menthols. Easier to start smoking when young, etc. Secondly, let’s be specific about our likely demographic. It’s not African-Americans in general, but city dwelling cigarette smokers who could be African-American who litter more. Many are often surprised to know that overall African-Americans use less drugs than Caucasians. Finally, has anyone noted the Nikesque swoosh on the Newports? I think it was supposed to resemble a sail. For the town of Newport.

    • Paul Lukas | October 11, 2018 at 2:15 pm |

      Finally, has anyone noted the Nikesque swoosh on the Newports?

      Yes, I noted it myself in today’s text. Perhaps you skipped over that part.

      • GTV | October 11, 2018 at 2:49 pm |

        Sorry. I missed one line in a long piece. Not perfect.

  • Paul | October 11, 2018 at 2:36 pm |

    The city of Saint Paul, MN is instituting a limit on the sale of menthol tobacco products to only tobacco stores. No more menthol cigarettes can be sold in convenience stores or gas stations or bars. Why not limit ALL tobacco products? It seems like a law targeted at the African-American community.

  • Jerusalem Stone | October 11, 2018 at 2:58 pm |

    Red-Sea-pedestrian here, and former Newport smoker. (Don’t judge! It was about 25 years ago and there was a lot of Mobb Deep pumping threw the giant Sony headphones, k?)

    Newport logo is definitely supposed to evoke the Nike swoosh.

    RIP zines. And self-addressed, stamped envelopes. Cue Bob James’ “Angela” and spark a Newport for old times sake.

    • Sean | October 12, 2018 at 10:51 am |

      The Newport logo pre-dates the Nike logo by 14 years.

  • Tom Bierbaum | October 11, 2018 at 3:21 pm |

    I once heard an account of a disapproving person who asked someone why they were littering and the earnest answer was, “I’m creating a job for someone else.”

  • Marcus | October 11, 2018 at 4:44 pm |

    I’m curious about the design of the Cavaliers’ blue uniforms, especially the “Earned” one. I know the Cavs wore light blue for a little while before LeBron James’ 1st stint with the club, but that’s not a shade of blue I typically associate with them. At least it makes more sense than using silver like they used for their City uniform last season.

  • Bill E Poughkeepsie | October 11, 2018 at 5:46 pm |

    Litter- the one item that has an increased sight trajectory, Floss Picks
    Why Put them in a small garbage bag when you can throw them onto a parking lot !!

  • w_c_hughes | October 11, 2018 at 5:56 pm |

    Paul I’d love to know the ethnic makeup of your old and new neighborhoods and the exact change in the “Newport” litter clip.

    Similarly, in my rural part of Ohio I see many littered “Keystone Lite” cans but rarely an IPA can. That’s probably due to it being drank more in the country than white conservatives being more likely to litter.

    PS- For everyone “uncomfortable” with this subject- demographics are a part of life- whether it be marketing, politics, or healthcare. This is being discussed in a respectful, adult, matter-of-fact way, as it should be.

    • Paul Lukas | October 11, 2018 at 6:18 pm |

      Even if I could give you hard numbers on the ethnic makeups of my old and new neighborhoods (which I can’t), it would miss the larger point, which is, as I explained in today’s entry, that I encountered a disproportionate share of littered Newport packs in places *beyond* my neighborhoods. Moreover, as others have pointed out in in today’s comments, the people smoking in a given neighborhood are not necessarily the residents — it may also be (and in fact certainly is) contractors of various sorts.

    • Oakville Celery Root | October 11, 2018 at 6:22 pm |

      I agree it’s been mostly an adult conversation, but I’m not uncomfortable.

      It’s basically off-limits to report race related stats here (Toronto). I’m pretty sure if I wrote a similar blog/memo/report at my company I would be fired. (at the very least a stiff reprimand). This is not Cdn smugness, but I was taught skin color is irrelevant, not worth mentioning.

      As to my earlier passive aggressiveness, it’s the head on initial approach Paul has taken (and 99% of the time I absolutely like what Paul writes). But in this case what I hear is this Newport is the overwhelming brand that gets littered, and black people tend to be disproportional smokers of Newport – it’s too blunt despite all the subsequent qualifiers given

    • Oakville Celery Root | October 11, 2018 at 6:22 pm |

      I agree it’s been mostly an adult conversation, but I’m not uncomfortable.

      It’s basically off-limits to report race related stats here (Toronto). I’m pretty sure if I wrote a similar blog/memo/report at my company I would be fired. (at the very least a stiff reprimand). This is not Cdn smugness, but I was taught skin color is irrelevant, not worth mentioning.

      As to my earlier passive aggressiveness, it’s the head on initial approach Paul has taken (and 99% of the time I absolutely like what Paul writes). But in this case what I hear is this Newport is the overwhelming brand that gets littered, and black people tend to be disproportional smokers of Newport – it’s too blunt despite all the subsequent qualifiers given

      • Paul Lukas | October 11, 2018 at 6:27 pm |

        I was taught skin color is irrelevant, not worth mentioning.

        It’s not relevant from a moral perspective. But it’s relevant from a *factual* perspective. It is a *fact* that Newport has concentrated its marketing efforts toward blacks. It is a *fact* that black Americans are disproportionately poor. And so on.

        There’s no judgment involved in any of that (or at least no judgment toward black people, although there’s plenty of judgment that could be directed at the tobacco company and at the various forces that have led to black poverty) — it’s just factual. And like most facts, these facts are extremely relevant in terms of forming public policy.

        • Oakville Celery Root | October 11, 2018 at 8:31 pm |

          Yes this is getting tiring – so I promise this is my last post on this subject

          I saw the central point of the blog today was “I find the Newport brand overwhelmingly the cause of cigarette pack litter” Point 2: Black people smoke Newport. Making that a point seems to be mentioning race as somewhat gratuitous. And every time race is mentioned when it doesn’t need to be, is a step towards division. I know a bunch of qualifiers were added. The fact that it’s a shame that Newport concentrates it’s marketing effort to Black was not a primary part of the original post. (IMO). My post above was directed to w.c hughes comment “For everyone “uncomfortable” with this subject- demographics are a part of life- whether it be marketing, politics, or healthcare”

          Now back to talking about uniforms.

  • Scotty Danger | October 11, 2018 at 6:24 pm |

    Here’s my question: Would the Bud Light advertising on the penalty box be different if we were another company?

    As far as I know, advertising on benches in hockey (at least in lower levels) is hardly a new idea. When I lived near Fargo, the junior hockey team there had an advertisement behind the home bench for a hardware store while the away bench was sponsored by a flower shop. This meant that behind the home bench was a sign that said “Studs” and the away bench got “Pansies.” It was humorous.

    So if the NHL hypotethically did the same thing, would that be alright? Seems like most of the anger in here is a bunch of old people who are more annoyed that it’s an ad campaign they don’t like more than anything.

    Dilly dilly!

  • Bernie | October 11, 2018 at 8:10 pm |

    Here’s some demographic maps to help your analysis-

    Predominant race/ethnicity: https://plcy.mp/b2ZjqMQ
    Income: https://plcy.mp/bvqFVBk
    Tobacco use: https://plcy.mp/3pRG39l
    Racial diversity: https://plcy.mp/j9KNlrP

    Full disclosure: I work at PolicyMap. Send complaints about the purple maps in my direction.

  • John | October 11, 2018 at 8:44 pm |

    Here are some more facts and figures from a Centers for Disease Control fact sheet:

    In 2017, Newport had a 14% national market share, second to Marlboro’s 40%.

    In 2016, 35% of all cigarettes sold were mentholated brands.

    Among African American smokers, mentholated brands are the most popular.

    The percentage of individuals 12 years or older who reported using mentholated brands in 2010 was 19.1% Black, 7.8% Hispanic, 6.5% White and 3.6% Asian.

    https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/tobacco_industry/brand_preference/

  • Jim Vilk | October 11, 2018 at 9:18 pm |

    Not so many people smoke cigarettes anymore

    This may hold true nationwide but not in Akron. All colors, all sexes. Can’t stop at an intersection without seeing *at least* one smoker. And almost all of them think the world is their ashtray.

    Don’t notice many packs lying around…just thousands of individual butts along the roadside (especially off/on ramps) and if you go up to Lake Erie, good luck finding a spot on the beach that isn’t littered with them. Disgusting.

    Keep up the good work, Paul!

  • Jess | October 12, 2018 at 2:58 am |

    The Warriors latest throwback is based on the jersey that was worn from 1975-1983. They had a white version that was worn on Sunday home games in the early 80’s. Both are shown here https://youtu.be/Nt_cCsMJPmU

  • Daniel Tarrant | October 12, 2018 at 10:43 pm |

    Maybe this is a little off-topic for UW, but since Paul brought the subject up I thought I’d expand on the racial angle a bit.

    For full disclosure, I am a white man married to a black woman and we have a teenage daughter together. I only bring this up to point out that I might have some perspectives on both sides of this issue which many folks may not…not saying that I’m right because of this, just that joining a mixed race family gives one new ways of seeing things.

    So what Paul illustrates here is an example of how racism develops as a social illness. It is factually true that poor people tend to litter more than affluent people. It is factually true that black people buy Newport cigarettes more than other brands. It is factually true that blacks are more likely to be poor than whites. So when we notice that there are a lot of Newport wrappers littering the streets, our minds, which are hard-wired to make associations, will naturally start to associate black people with littering. Even black people making this observation will make the same association.

    Now of course there is no scientific link between one’s skin color and one’s propensity to litter. But when you throw in other cultural and economic factors, bad associations will be made.

    The people who are harmed by this are the decent black folks who don’t litter, but have to face the assumption from others that they do because somebody who looked like them littered.

    Sorry for the lecture but it’s an important issue to me.