Spitting in America - Does Law Enforcement Work?

Women Take Action against Spittle

When ladies learned that tuberculosis can live in sputum for an entire day after it’s been spat on the ground, the future of the shorter skirt length was assured. Fashion plate from La Gazette du Bon Ton, 1915.
When ladies learned that tuberculosis can live in sputum for an entire day after it’s been spat on the ground, the future of the shorter skirt length was assured. Fashion plate from La Gazette du Bon Ton, 1915.

Ever since the tuberculosis bacterium and its transmission modes were identified in the late 1800s, municipalities across the country have struggled with enacting and enforcing effective laws against spitting. Unlike anti-smoking laws, which are well-enforced, anti-spitting laws are not, even though spitting has been and is known to put the public’s health at risk.

Despite energetic public health education and awareness campaigns that were mounted across the country from the late 1800s right through the 1950s, and despite the many laws against spitting which ensued, spittle-strewn streets are still commonplace in our American towns and cities, from sea to shining sea.

Why Is It Difficult To Enforce Laws Against Spitting?

As early as 1886, medical doctors knew that laws against spitting would be ineffective, even though it was generally acknowledged that tuberculosis could be transmitted through sputum. From The Medical and Surgical Reporter, a Philadelphia medical journal of the time, comes this reasoned explanation:

A law against spitting must not aim higher than the average sentiment of the policeman, the police court judge, the janitor, conductor or care-taker, upon whom its enforcement must depend. It must not too much curtail the highly prized “personal liberty” of the two-legged swine, against whom it is directed…

In other words, those who would enforce the law were already guilty of breaking it and would have no intention of mending their ways.

The full article is fascinating. If you'd like to read it, click here, enter the word spitting in the search box, then select the link to page 563.

An Anti-Spitting Sign of the Times

Courtesy of Historical Collections & Services, Claude Moore Health Sciences Library, University of Virginia.
Courtesy of Historical Collections & Services, Claude Moore Health Sciences Library, University of Virginia.

New Yorkers Document Their Spitting Troubles

This same societal ambivalence was noted by J.M. in his eloquent letter to The New York Times in 1901 entitled Spitting Nuisance :

For a year and a half I was a daily passenger on the Third Avenue elevated line. My trips were made in the early afternoon, at which time scarcely a day passed when there were not from one to five “bluecoats” [policemen] in the car in which I was riding…I kept count, with the result that four-fifths of these officers were observed to break the law [against spitting].

J.M. also noted that no-spitting signs were posted clearly within the cars and stations of the transit system; however, the word used on the signs was "expectorate" rather than "spit". At first, according to his letter, he wondered if the men in blue simply didn't understand the "expectorate" word. But after eighteen months of observation, he put his wonders aside.

(You can read the entire letter here in PDF format.)

What's in that Spit, Anyway?

The most common harmful bacteria in a sputum culture are those that can cause bronchitis or pneumonia (Streptococcus pneumoniae, Staphylococcus aureus, Haemophilus influenzae, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Chlamydia pneumoniae) or tuberculosis (Mycobacterium tuberculosis). Mycoplasma, a group of organisms similar to bacteria, can also cause a type of pneumonia.  

There are fungi there, too. 

From Yahoo Health.

Ninety-five years later, not much had changed in New York. To mark the 100th anniversary of the enactment of the city’s law against spitting, The New York Times published these words in May, 1996:

Adopted to prevent the spread of disease, the law hasn't changed much in a century. Sidewalks, public transit and buildings (floors, walls, stairways) are still taboo targets…Could a hawker do hard time nowadays? Not likely, says…an eight-year veteran of the New York Police Department's Transit Bureau who has never issued a $25 summons for spitting. And no judge in recent memory has imposed the maximum 10-day jail sentence.

John Smith House, Palmyra, NY

Palmyra is the birthplace of the Mormon movement. Photo courtesy of vintageviews.org.
Palmyra is the birthplace of the Mormon movement. Photo courtesy of vintageviews.org.

Big cities are not the only ones to face this dilemma. In 2003, the small community of Palmyra, New York reviewed their local ordinances with an eye to revising outdated laws and penalties. Among the proposals was the suggestion to increase the fine and jail time mandated by a 1909 law banning public spitting. The Village Board left the law intact, but increased the fine to $250 and the jail term to fifteen days. Interestingly, the townspeople found themselves at odds over this proposal, with many calling it ridiculous, even dinosaur-like. Palmyra’s code enforcement officer noted that he has never charged anyone with spitting in the past, but if he’s told to do so now, he will oblige.

The Twisted Consequences of Spitting Ambivalence

Most people agree that spitting is repulsive, disgusting, and potentially dangerous.  One would think it would be a simple matter to legislate against it.  But there’s very little that is simple about the relationship between spitting and the law.  The following cases illustrate the convoluted legal paths judges, juries, and even law enforcement officials are asked to walk when spit is involved.

Spitting Consequences in Oklahoma

In Creek County, Oklahoma, where it is a felony to place bodily fluids on a law enforcement officer, a man received a life sentence for spitting on a police officer. It took the jury only fifteen minutes to decide. Now think about this for a minute: What would have happened to this gentleman if he had spit on you, you who are not a law enforcement officer? In all likelihood, nothing would have happened, since this law doesn’t protect the average citizen, and there is no simple anti-spitting law on the local books. (To be fair to the county and the gentleman, the harsh sentence was levied under the local repeat offender laws. Apparently, this gentleman had been very bad for a long time.)

Chicago Chimes In

In Chicago, in 2003, a young man was arrested for spitting on the street.  Chicago used to have a ban on spitting on a public street, but it was repealed in 1997.  The arresting officer was not aware of the repeal.  Needless to say, the charge against the young man was dropped, but his mother threatened to sue the city for civil-rights violations against her son, claiming that the arrest was racially motivated.  Meanwhile, 211 spitting tickets were issued after the ban was lifted, the violators paid their fines, and, as of 2003, the city was attempting to issue refunds.  If this case boggles your mind, you have plenty of company.

Let's Hear It from Seattle

Moving along to the west coast, Seattle’s citizens have faced similar confusions in their battles with twisted spitting legislation.  Do you know that it is not against the law to spit on the sidewalk, but it is against the law to sit on one?  The reported tongue-in-cheek explanation for this convolution is that the law protects citizens from sitting in spittle.

What Is this Ambivalence about Spitting?

For as much as most people detest the habit, and for as prevalent as anti-spitting laws are, there are surprisingly few convictions.  Some say that more education is needed about the health dangers inherent in spitting.  Some say that it’s a communications problem, as we saw in the Chicago case.  What I say is that the root of the problem lies in the answer to the question, why do guys spit?

© 2009 Sally's Trove. All rights reserved.

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Comments 61 comments

Hawkesdream profile image

Hawkesdream 7 years ago from Cornwall

Good hub, always new there was a law against spitting but never new the origins. You learn something everyday,don't you.


Theophanes profile image

Theophanes 7 years ago from New England

Blah, there should be laws ageinst spitting! I was taking a walk in a sweet clean country neighborhood one day when I came across a twenty-ish year old boy walking something that looked like a cross between a fox and a beat up hobby horse. Would you believe he waited until I was a mere three feet away from him before hawking up the biggest gob of spittle I have ever seen, which launched full speed across my path and nearly landed with a wet plop on my feet! Revolting and whhhhy?? It was like he was trying to impress me with his llama-like skills. Anyway, fantastically strange hub. I had no idea...


RKHenry profile image

RKHenry 7 years ago from Your neighborhood museum

I had never heard of such a thing and I'm a history major. Thanks for the info.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Hawkesdream (love your screen name), yes you do learn something new every day, even if you don't know it, BTW.

I had no idea about all this spitting history, culture, legal issues, until fellow Hubber Cathy put out a request. Now, the rest is history. And I confess I am addicted to learning about spitting. How strange is that?

Thanks so much for your comment.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Theophanes, I do believe it. It's part of the territorial thing I talk about in my other spitting Hub (the link is in this Hub, above...Why do guys spit?).

And thanks for calling this Hub "strange". I feel that way about it too.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

RKHenry, you are my academic-history-major-deprived-of-reality-soulmate! For cryin' out loud, why didn't those teachers model their lessons after real things, like spit or toilets or horses? Those real elements of life speak to us so much more than dates, statistics, and politics. We would have learned not only more, but better. Thanks for your awesome comment.


Elena. profile image

Elena. 7 years ago from Madrid

Hi Sally!  What fabulous follow-up to your previous spitting article!  Or maybe I should say "article on spitting"!  Laugh!

Who knew about all these laws!  The excerpts from the medical journal & NYT letter are incredible, never mind the rest of it!  Shall I sit back and relax in wait of yet another follow-up on spit? For example, "spitting around the world"?  I know, that sounds kinda yuckyyyy   Laugh!  Major kudos!


marisuewrites profile image

marisuewrites 7 years ago from USA

Just stopping by to say good morning, and I thought about your hub lately, as I look at the treatment of corporate and their employees lately....talk about the urge to spit...

whooooeeeeee! I'm workin up a loogie for the first time in my life. hah

you have a great day, I'm off to eat eggs and ham with hubby, and watch the sun come up....and then work. ick.


sarahonweb profile image

sarahonweb 7 years ago

Nice hub.. Thanks for the info.


Frieda Babbley profile image

Frieda Babbley 7 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

Fabulous hub.  I had no idea that it was illegal. Christoph had mention the tuberculosis on your other hub I remember. I like how you sectioned this and your sidebars of info. Loved your "Why do Guys Spit" hub and Elena is right, this is a great follow up.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Elena. Your message made me laugh, and hard. Were you in my head? Picking my brains? This Hub started out with the title "Spitting Around the World", but I found entirely too much interesting information and had to narrow the focus. I picked the US legal aspect, because its convolutions amazed me. That is TOO funny. I am, for the moment, completely spitted out. It would be easy to do 5 or 6 more Hubs on the subject, but I really can't stand the thought of spit right now. Like eating too many green apples...it's making me a little sick.

Hey, thanks for reminding me about the medical journal and the letter to the editor. A little later on today I'll go back and include the links to the complete pieces. Both are somewhat difficult to read, because they are images of the original text, and not very good quality ones, either. But reading each of them all the way through is almost as exciting as it would be to step into a time machine and travel backwards.

And thank you for the wonderful compliments!


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Marisue, I am so proud of you. I know how much you hate spit. That you read this Hub in addition to the first one is amazing, and even more amazing that you are actually thinking that maybe you might spit. Apparently my spit series is giving you some kind of courage. Thanks so much for your comments.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Frieda, it's incredible how much information there is out there, and so easily available, about spit and spitting.  Who knew?  In fact, it's not illegal everywhere, and it's questionable, when it is illegal, whether the laws against it are even enforceable.  What boggles my mind about the whole topic is how long the surrounding issues have remained issues.  Should be simple to legislate against it, right?  Not.

Thanks for the awesome compliments.  It means a lot that you like the layout.  I think this HubPages medium is top-drawer when it comes to being able to relate information verbally and visually on the page, with ease.

sarahonweb, thanks for stopping by and commenting.


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis

Sally:  Another fascinating article about spitting.  Who knew there was so much information.  What will you be writting about next?  "History of the Spittoon" would work.  Great job with great research and great links.  I love that text you quoted at the top, where the writer referred to spitters as "two-legged swine."  Indeed.

I had to laugh thinking whether a policeman would charge someone if he was spit on.  I recently read an article where a policeman charged a guy, not for spitting, but for passing gas at him.  I wrote about it on my blog:

****************

'West Virginia, steeped in rich history such as hillbillies, strip-mining, and black lung, is host to our report of police abuse. Jose A. Cruz was pulled over for driving without headlights. According to the cops, the complaint said he smelled of alcohol, had slurred speech and failed three sobriety tests. He was handcuffed and taken to the station for a Breathalyzer test.

As patrolman T.E. Parsons prepared the machine, Cruz scooted his chair towards the cop, lifted his leg and “passed gas loudly.” And then he fanned it in the general direction of the cop. The cop wrote in his complaint, “The gas was very odorous and created contact of an insulting or provoking nature with Patrolman Parsons.” Oh, the humanity!

Cruz admitted that he cut one, but denied moving his chair toward the cop nor aiming his poot at the officer. He further claimed he had an upset stomach and the police wouldn’t let him use the bathroom.

“I couldn’t hold it no more,” he eloquently stated.'

************

If they could charge someone for that, I guess they could charge someone for spitting.  Anther great one, Sally, but then, you don't write any other kind!


robie2 profile image

robie2 7 years ago from Central New Jersey

Who knew???? spitting??? I never knew why there were those signs in the subway and now I do-- this was fascinating--especially the historical stuff. I never knew that anti spitting laws came about because of TB-- and why do guys spit anyway-- unless they chew tobacco, of course ewwwwwwwww. Fabulous hub--well researched, beautifully written and sooooooo much fun. Thanks


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Christoph, I have not spent nearly enough time at the Crusty. I will have to fix that shortly.

Your comment almost caused pain in my mouth, as I laughed so hard my face almost cracked.

It is interesting that farting, spitting, and defecating on someone may be classed as felonies in some jurisdictions. These classifications come under the legal concepts of assault and battery. I don't want to get too far into this, because I am not a lawyer, but if you spit (or fart or defecate) ON someone, then you may be arrested and charged with assault and battery, because you've intended to do harm. This has nothing to do with bans on spitting.

What I'd really like to see are subway signs that say "No Farting", but alas, farts, I think, are harder to control than spits.

Which reminds me, I've heard somewhere, though I don't remember where, that guys can actually fart on demand. I know I can burp on demand, but not the other.

So, if a guy can blow gas on demand, then is this an intentional act to do harm, in which case, I guess the cops in your scenario would have a case, in that gas could be as deadly as sputum.

Chris, you enliven every place you go, including this. Thanks for a great, thought-provoking comment.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Miss Robie2, I am so glad to see you.

This adventure through spitting history has jogged many memory cells in the brain for me. Yes, those no-spitting signs were there as I was growing up, but I never attached much importance to them at the time.

Also, remember Christmas seals, with the image of the cross with the two horizontal bars? Well, when I was a kid, that was a big deal in school. We'd get our Christmas seals and put them on cards. What I didn't realize then was that this was a message about fighting TB.

How times have changed, and I guess Christmas seals could be another Hub.

Done for now with spitting. Bleghhhh!


trish1048 profile image

trish1048 7 years ago

Good morning dear friend,

A question for you.  Are you on your way to publishing a book on spitting?  I mean, gee, how much more information is there out there?  I'm finding it fascinating that people even want to read about it.  In my case, I doubt I'll be running off to Barnes & Noble anytime soon for a book on spitting LOL

The really funny thing about this is, I can actually imagine, if you were to write a book about it, that it would probably make the New York Times best seller list :)

Now, about 'burping on demand'.  I have just learned another new thing about you that I never knew in the kazillion years of our friendship.  So, you can do that?  Yikes!  My kids can do it too, and poor ole mom here can't.  Not that I'd want to!  Is it inherited?  Did I pass a burping gene along to my kids somehow?  My question is why would anyone do it?  Too weird to think about. 

Patiently waiting on the next installment of what seems to be a preview of a book (by you) titled, Spitting - Everything You Wanted to Know but Were Afraid to Ask :)

PS: Congrats on your score! My guess is one more hub on spitting will put you right at 100!


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Trish, I love how you always grace a Hub with an excellent comment. 

First, about the burping...we'll take that offline, so to speak.  Except that I will answer your question about why anyone would want to do that:  Because it's fun!

Thank you for your kind words about writing a book about spitting.  Yes, the topic is huge, but then so is a grain of sand.  It's just the way you look at it and the context you put it in.  I have to say that I'm pretty much tired of the subject, to the point that it would be hard to drum up the motivation to continue the research.  Maybe another Hub or two to use up the information I've already collected, but that's about it.


Mayra Mejia 7 years ago

Hi Sally,

I love how you positioned this article. It brought me back and then forward in time into the history and implication of spitting. I have seen both men and women spit and it grosses me out especially early in the morning. The worst is when people have a cold. Yikes! I can't for the life of me spit in public no matter how sick I am. When I was in younger I used to get colds often and when I needed to clear my lungs in public I would find a private place and spit on napking if there was no other choice. Other times I would end up swallowing the gunk, but I preferred to do that than to spit in public eventhough that grossed me out too. I can see how this can have the potential of becoming dicey in court, if the defendant were sick and found him or herself having to spit on the street given that there aren't any designated areas to spit in public places or at least not that I am aware of.

Why do guys spit? I think they do it out of habit, something you see somebody else do and you adapt it as part of your identity. I don't think that much thinking goes into it. 

Thank you for sharing what's on your mind. Very interesting Hub!


yxhuang profile image

yxhuang 7 years ago from California

Sally- Not long ago I have done a writing/transltion job for a Chinese lady who is voluntary working on a Chinatwon cleaning project. She was really focus on teaching the community not to spit in public, especially in Chinatown. I thought spitting is part of "Chinese culture" and through out this writing project I've learned that there are some medical specialists actually study such a habit. They try to search the fact why people habitually spit and hopefully there will be some medical equipment or medicine invented in the future to treat these people, perhaps come out something such as a patch that is similar of using for quit smoking.I did not know how interesting the U.S. has set certain rules about prohibit spitting. Very informative!It is really a good question: Why do GUYS spit?


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Mayra, thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on this subject. From the comments on this Hub and the other one (Why Do Guys Spit?), it is clear that most thinking, caring human beings find public spitting to be offensive and go out of their way (just as you described) to make sure they don't do it.

Thank you for commenting. I always enjoy your thoughtful words!


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 7 years ago from Central Oklahoma

ST, I'm looking forward to the next hub - on spittoons. There was one in the barbershop where my dad got his hair cut, and being 3 or 4 years old, I could see into it better than an adult. Ewwww! Gross! Worse, it always seemed to be nearly full. Ewwww! Gross!!


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

yxhuang, thanks for sharing the info about medical researchers working on ways to prevent spitting. Perhaps the researchers and pharma companies will do a better job of controlling public spitting than the law has managed to do. And I have no doubt that education is vital, and sadly missing. The lady you mentioned about the Chinatown cleaning project had the right idea.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

JamaGenee, I confess that I have never seen an "in-service" spittoon. I think if I had seen what you saw, I'd still be having nightmares. You poor, poor child! Thanks for sharing this grossly ewwwy memory.


marisuewrites profile image

marisuewrites 7 years ago from USA

Your Sptting Hubs are sure stirring up a mess....(lol) of comments. hahahha

I got over my spitting urge...i started gagging. geeez I have a baby stomach. =))


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Marisue, I am so glad you got over the spitting urge, because for you to even have it in the first place was kind of, well, bizarre, considering how much the idea of spitting makes you sick. So, I'll tell you what, you sit down, have Lynn massage your shoulders, and I promise I will never mention the word spit to you again. How's that? But you have to promise me that if I write another spit Hub, you won't read it!

((((((hugs))))))


annemaeve profile image

annemaeve 7 years ago from Philly Burbs

Sally, I didn't think it was possible, but I love your second hub on spitting even more than I loved your first hub on spitting! Well done!

I think it's fascinating that tuberculosis influenced women's fashions like that. Rock on, turn-of-the-last-century sisters! That illustration was beautiful, too - makes me think of the Wizard of Oz illustrations.

Great work, as always!!


hot dorkage profile image

hot dorkage 7 years ago from Oregon, USA

Just try spitting in Singapore! I think you can get caned for it. Any Singaporeans know for sure? I only spit in the woods when I'm running, and only when no one is looking.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

annemaeve, I didn't see the Oz connection until you mentioned it.  I'll have to think about this a little more.  Am I in OZ, as you were in the Dorothy costume I made for you?  It is that OZ has a wider dimension than just tradition or memory or drama.  Thanks so much for the prompting into new thoughts.

Getting back to the topic, women created, organized, and led the campaigns to stamp out TB.  Men did not.  Women shortening their skirts was the logical and intelligent response to knowing that TB could be carried home to their children on skirt hems.  Women are not stupid, yet they've been dumbed-down by western history and our current Zombie-like acceptance of a male dominated politic.  But that's another Hub. 

Thank you for your awesome comments that make me think again, and again.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

HD, you are so right about Singapore. There's a huge body of information out there about why Singapore is a bad place to spit. I, also, would love to hear from those who live there.

So you spit, too, like annemaeve. Maybe the two of you could collaborate on a Hub about why women would spit.

Awesome thanks for your comment.


Andromeda10 profile image

Andromeda10 7 years ago from Chicago

Wow! They should have a substantial fine, say $200, that must be paid. Maybe we can get that Trillions of dollars in debt off of our plate, America!

Spitting is a habit like anything else. It would be a great income generator for a while..until people break the habit. It's quite a bit easier to quit spitting on the ground than smoking.


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 7 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine

I wish they could do something about the spitting here in mainland China. Only, we don't call it spitting, we call it hoiking. Because, they first make this loud hoiking noise and then they spit, everywhere.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Andromeda10, I never thought of that. How brilliant! As you say, it would be a great income generator for a while, but maybe that while would be long enough considering how prevalent spitting is. That is, if our municipalities could get a spitting ban to stick, so to speak. Thanks for the great comment.

Cindyvine, I've never been to mainland China, but lately I've done enough reading about spitting around the world that I can imagine what you are saying. In fact, I've heard people say that spitting there is so common, your chances of being hit by it are higher than anywhere else in the world. Thanks so much for your input.


the eye profile image

the eye 7 years ago

Nice feed back

We also have to considerate that to expectorate it is a natural way to take toxics out our body. It's not only important when we are with flu or colds, Our body is is continuously eliminating toxic.

It is clear that it cannot be done in the streets, but we can help ourselves having handkerchief or so on, just in case of be needed.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Hi the eye (I like how that sounds!), I agree with you completely: if you really have to do it when you are out and about, do it in a hankie or tissue.

I'm not sure about spitting being an effective method of removing toxins from the body, but I'm not the expert here. I know that sweat carries toxins out of the body, and of course so do urine and excrement. But you learn something new every day!

Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting.


dianacharles profile image

dianacharles 7 years ago from India

Very interesting facts there Sally...especially since I come from a country that makes spitting a religion and an art. Never mind all the health advisories and penalty warnings posted all over the place, people still spit with total abandon. The worst is the red spittle after eating something called paan. Since people love to spit in the stairways, some ingenious soul hit on the idea to put the pictures of Gods in the areas where the spit normally lands...now no more spit...at least there.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Diana, that was indeed an ingenious soul, and a perfect example of finding a "hook" that works rather than imposing just another list of "don'ts". I have never seen paan spit in real life, only in pictures where it looks vile enough.

Thanks so much for reading and commenting. Your comments always add value and insight.


lawyer 7 years ago

Looking around to find a case of the last such person to be prosecuted for such offenses.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

lawyer, I'm glad you found this article. I think your research would be a great addition to this Hub, and maybe even prompt another article, perhaps here or on your website.

Clearly, the spitting issues and mores belong to cultures around the world. Thanks for reading and commenting. Please let the HubPages community know what you discover.


sabu singh profile image

sabu singh 6 years ago

Very interesting, well-written and well-researched Hub, ST.

As dianacharles mentioned earlier, we Indians are champion spitters and it would be difficult for anyone else to wrest the World Title from us. It is also a practice we mastered many generations ago and brought to a fine art form. Do visit India to see first-hand.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 6 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Thanks for your good words, Sabu. LOL about visiting India to see world championship spitting first-hand. Should I make the trip to your country one day, I do hope seeking out examples of spitting expertise is the last thing on my mind.


Houston Personal Injury Lawyers 6 years ago

I just sent this hub to my bosses email. Hope i will get the day off... really well written hub


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 6 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Houston Personal Injury Lawyers, if it comes to your having to petition for your day off, I'll be happpy to sign. Thanks for the good words!


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

As a resident Houstonian living just outside the city limits...I have not encountered much in the way of spitting residues, thank heavens! Obviously it probably happens, but the results are not obvious and for that I am happy. Something to be said for living in the county! Quite a subject and article on your part! You may be the resident hubpage expert on this subject. Haha!


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 6 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

LOL about being the resident HP expert on spitting. I'll wear that badge with honor. :p

You bring up such a good point about spittle not being evident on the ground in the country, and the same can be said for most suburban areas. I, too, share your happiness!


Jg 5 years ago

A police officer gave me a summon for spitting on the street, not on the sidewalk. I am wondering what should i do with it?


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Jg, I'm quite surprised you got a summons at all! Do you suppose you ought to pay it?


Charissa 4 years ago

I come to this web since my thesis is about anti-spitting campaign. haha. Seems like the regulation must be extremely strict in order to stop people from spitting in public eh? kkkkk ~ reading all these spitting thing is getting more interested from time to time ^^


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Charissa, good luck with your thesis! There's a lot to be said about spitting and the law, no matter where you live on the planet. I think it's a very rich topic. :)


defensesarasota 4 years ago from Sarasota County

spitting law is not really taken seriously because you can't avoid spitting everywhere, this is not only happen in the USA, I guess there are countries who have a big problem with regards to this. But one thing that I could suggest is that person should have a self-discipline. If you love yourself and you care then stop spitting everywhere.

@Sally thanks for bringing this topic publicly!


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

defensesarasota, thank you for sharing your thoughts and also thank you for the support. This topic needs attention in the countries where spitting laws are not taken seriously.


Mary Neal profile image

Mary Neal 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Thanks for the hub. I knew public spitting was rude and ugly, but I did not know it was also criminal.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

TY, Mary Neal. Spitting is rude and ugly, but more important, it carries a health risk. Yes, in some places it is criminal, but laws, at least in this country, are rarely enforced. Something to think about!


Freedom 3 years ago

My teenager son was arrested and kept in a cell at local precinct for over 12 hours for spitting on a sidewalk. He was actually sick, visited a doctor a few days before this accident, and was on medication because of sore throat/coughing. Now he has a ticket and has to go to the criminal court for spitting.

We never knew about this law. We think that its nasty habit. However, what our son and entire family suffered, court issue - is insanity.


joe 3 years ago

I knew their was a law about spitting on others, on Saturday the 1 st of June my brother in law was spit on the arm by a female after our coed soccer game she wasn't even giving a warning this happened at ISA in Oklahoma City, if it were me female or not I'd bust her mouth and kick her on the knee caps!! just disgusting


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 3 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Freedom and joe, thanks for sharing your experiences here.

Joe, it's really terrible that no one reprimanded the soccer player for this action. Unfortunately, the lack of even a warning is the same thing as condoning the behavior.


SwordOfDamocles 2 years ago

I do have to say, I'm kind of disappointed in all of you for being so closed minded, I try not to spit in public but I have allergies which can cause me to have a lot of mucus flowing down my throat sometimes. It happens in public sometimes and if I swallow enough I throw up, so take your pick I can spit when I need to or I could throw up on the sidewalk.


Chris Johnson 2 years ago

Spitting on people is just flat out wrong. Why exactly? Well I cant answer that all the way to be honest, I guess it has just been engraved into our society. I spit in public only when I am sick. I think its bad manners to spit in public otherwise, even if you are chewing tobacco or something. By Chris Johnson with https://www.flasr.com/


MonkeyShine75 profile image

MonkeyShine75 21 months ago from Los Angeles, California

Very interesting hub

I know a few cops who were very glad certain individuals spit on the ground because they were able to get their DNA, and implicated them in murder.

During those times they were very happy that the killers spit on the sidewalk, or threw down their lite cigarettes

Otherwise, it's kinda disrespectful


MonkeyShine75 profile image

MonkeyShine75 21 months ago from Los Angeles, California

Funny how all the guys say they "have" to spit, yet not once have I seen a woman spit in public. Women have mucous, allergies, and colds too.

Men usually carry handkerchiefs, why can't they spit into that?

Chris Johnson, it's wrong to spit on people because it's disrespectful, nasty, and against the law (it's assault)

Hope that helps

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