I'm not a smoker. I've never had the desire to smoke, and I've never understood its appeal. The D.A.R.E. program was a waste of money on me because there was never a chance I would be tempted to smoke. And no one I've ever known has been a smoker either. I'm telling you all this because I want you to understand how little I know about smoking. So when I tell this story, it may actually be that I'm the weird one (although I seriously doubt it).
My wife and I were standing in line last week for a Black Friday event. To be specific, we were standing in line outside of Old Navy to get one of the free Xbox Kinect games they were giving out if you made a $25 purchase (we got two of them, by the way). So it was about 15 minutes before the doors were supposed to open, and an employee walked out to get something from their car. Of the 150 people in line, 149 of us realized the store was not opening early. But one lady, who was out of line to smoke a cigarette, panicked when she saw the doors open. She thought for sure they were opening early, so she threw her newly-lit cigarette to the ground and scurried back into the line as quickly as she could. Then she realized it was a false alarm. She laughed at herself a little bit and got a little embarrassed. Then she did something I didn't expect.
She walked back over to where she'd been smoking and started searching the ground for her cigarette. Then she found it, brushed it off, and put it back in her mouth. Then she said, "Hey… five second rule, right?! Ha!" And all the people in her group laughed. The other 144 of us stood in horrified silence.
Again, I don't have any experience in the area of smoking. So maybe this is normal for smokers. But it was new to me. And I was not able to fathom it. Because in my opinion, even the official five-second rule is deemed invalid when you're outdoors. If I drop something edible onto the cement outside a retail store where 150 people are standing, it's no longer edible. There's no way something that touched the ground is going in my mouth. The only exception I can think of would be if I dropped the antidote to a poison in my system. And even then, I would hesitate. But a cigarette that you've already put in your mouth? If that hits the ground, it'll have that layer of germ-collecting saliva on it that kicks up the nastiness to all new levels.
In conclusion: Smoking is gross. And secondhand smoke is inconsiderate. But a five-second rule on a used cigarette is simply unacceptable.