• Mon, Dec 4 2006

10 Things You Should Know About Cigarette Butt Litter

Cigarette Butts

  1. Cigarette butt litter is the world’s greatest environmental litter problem
  2. Globally approximately 5.2 trillion cigarettes are manufactured every year. In developed countries (or in markets where indoor smoking bans have been introduced) almost 1 in 3 cigarette butts end up as litter.
  3. In most Western countries, cigarette butt litter accounts for around 50% of all litter.
  4. Cigarette butt litter dramatically increases where indoor smoking bans are implemented.
  5. In Australia, NSW smokers throw away enough butts to fill 7 Olympic swimming pools. Up to 350,000 butts end up in Port Phillip Bay, Victoria and waterways every day.
  6. It can take up to 12 years for a cigarette butt to break down.
  7. Cigarette butts can leach chemicals such as cadmium, lead and arsenic into our marine environment within an hour of contact with water.
  8. Cigarette butts have been found in the stomachs of fish, whales, birds and other marine animals which leads to ingestion of hazardous chemicals and digestive blockages.
  9. Smokers in many countries can be fined for flicking a lit cigarette.And the final and most important thing to know about cigarette butt litter is: Only smokers can stop cigarette butt litter. We need to educate them that butts are litter, and provide a positive alternative to littering.

Got over to Ecolad and check out what you can do to help.

Thanks, Bill![tags] smoking, cigarette, butt, litter, environment [/tags]
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  • gingerbrackett

    Wow–so get your butts into the trash, folks!

  • miss kitty

    What trash? The anti-smoking campaign has done away with most safe receptacles. Maybe a rash of trashcan fires would send a message?

  • kafka

    I checked and one butt takes around 5-7 days to dissapear. 12 years ?

  • http://www.iozzi.net Liozzi


    Litter sucks. However you seem to be exaggerating. A reliable source or two would help.

    I think we need to get people to stop littering in general.

  • Stanfill

    Are you trying to convince some brain-dead audience that cigarettes are more hazardous environmental problem than nuclear waste? Than CO2 build-up? Than plastic waste which takes DECADES to degrade? For shame. Do your frippin’ research and site your damn sources!

  • http://katasuka.110mb.com katasuka

    i know butts do impact the environment but then again so do cars. cars do more damage to the environment than anything smokers can do.

    besides, when it comes to cigarettes, the smoke released from all the smokers in the world is a bigger problem than the butts.

    overall, people need to see that we are ALL destroying our environment and we will ALL pay the consequences if we ALL don’t do something about it.

  • samson

    Butt turns to compost (in a compost) within two years according to my own tests. This 12 years is nonsense, really is. In the forest, it is best to slash or tear the butt open. This way, it wont be eaten by animals and it will break down earlier. Do not throw them to water, as they float and will be eaten by a fish or a bird. The biggest butt-problem in the city is the clogging of the sewage system. Those butts are remarkable dam material (beavers should take a note). And btw, I smoke and I still hate the butts and the smell of an ashtray.
    Anyways, the butt of the problem is not the butt in this case. Its the tobacco. Cultivating tobacco ravages the soil it is grown within five years, and farmers have to move to another area. This area is mostly gained by burning down the rainforest. Growing tobacco is way easy, it grows like a weed and is very profitable, so there is no way a used-to-be-starving family would go back just cause we dont want them to burn the forest. Then the tobacco is shipped to your local vendor through our fragile enviroment using non-renewable soon-to-be-extinct fuels, just a quick stop at the brands factory to add some additives.
    So while you have a puff, you are killing yourself, the planet, putting your money to the healthcare to take care of your addicted and to-be-dead-ten-years-too-early body, you also support the legalized druglords and the tobacco farmers most-likely-gun-wielding dictator boss. Then again, there is a nice feeling while puffin that you support a family

  • Jenn

    If anyone dares to have these bumperstickers on your car, please use my quotes~



  • Jenn

    I just wish smokers knew how badly they REEEEEK and just how stupid they look slowly killing themselves.

  • http://www.hungamablog.com Gemini

    I wish all the smokers all the best for making their life shorter, and would urge them to smoke in lonely corners where no living thing is around, so as not to hurt them…

  • http://digitalnobody.blogspot.com Digital Nobody

    Most of that is rubbish :)

    If I could smoke inside with an ashtray, even in a small smoking room, there would be less of a problem no?

  • Irrelevant Musings

    Did you know 78% of statistics are made up?

  • Nitpicker

    I wanted to read about *TEN* things I should know about butt litter. Why did you stop with nine?

    I hate cigarettes, and I dislike the smokers. Personally I feel that every butt smokers toss away should be forced back on them as a suppository, still lit!

    They litter the beaches, the parks, everywhere!

    Maybe if we could make the butts edible, we could solve this whole problem. If cigarette smoke taste as good as it smells, we should make the butts dung-flavored so the smokers will enjoy them. And add another kick of edible nicotine to the butts so the smoker will want to eat their own butts.

    It would almost be poetic!

  • http://www.iozzi.net liozzi

    Why so much hate?

    Are you a member of the Westboro Baptist church?

  • Nitpicker

    Not so much hate. Just a pet peeve. and some exaggeration.

    :p Last election, when a smoking regulation was on the ballot here (Nevada), there was alot of moaning from smokers about their “rights” to smoke. No one seemed to consider a person’s right to not smoke. As though the right to smoke was stronger than the right to breathe smoke-free air. I happen to feel it is the other way around.

    Let them smoke in their homes and cars.

    better yet, round them up. We can have smoker’s camps out in the middle of the desert somewhere.

    oops, there’s that exaggeration thing again.

  • http://www.iozzi.net liozzi

    “Last election, when a smoking regulation was on the ballot here (Nevada), there was alot of moaning from smokers about their “rights” to smoke.”

    You see my pet peeve is litter. The problem with cigarette butt litter is litter, not smoking. If you smoke or do not smoke you should not litter.

    Smoking is a separate issue. If we banned everything that causes litter, we must ban fast food, alcohol, snacks, drinks, gum, political campaigns, public transportation, grocery bags, packaged food, envelopes, ATMs, and many other things that are not the cause of littering.

    Put your trash in a trash can. It really doesn’t matter what the trash is, just put it in the trash can, recycle bin or whatever the appropriate place is.

  • anon

    That was only 9 facts, tard.

  • Irrelevant Musings

    “Smoking is a separate issue. If we banned everything that causes litter, we must ban fast food, alcohol, snacks, drinks, gum, political campaigns, public transportation, grocery bags, packaged food, envelopes, ATMs, and many other things that are not the cause of littering.”

    We should just cancel humanity. We’ve failed. No, not at being religious. Being religious is a symptom of the failure.

  • Lenardwayne

    Everybody has knowleage: Haven’t seen to much knowleage change things in peoples
    lives.But knowleage could help for your stability of your lives. But not the solutions. It holds true, anything that you abuse is bad for you ….
    we all want to have some value wheather its, knowleage, or second chance . As far as that goes. I have a washing machaine to do my laundy.”"”"”"”"”

  • Dwindlin

    First of all, I have to say that this is all just a bunch of crap. None of those facts seem researched to me, and with no sources to back them up I can basically just write off this entire article. As for those that posted anti-smoker comments, you’re all a bunch of uneducated retards. I mean honestly, ‘I hate smokers because I heard it’s bad from the government’ is just wrong. You know what’s more dangerous than smoking? Pretty much everything. Specifically so, obesity is FAR more hazardous to your health than smoking ever could me. Does that give me the right to go around criticizing fat people for being unhealthy? NO! They can do whatever they want, just like smokers can.

    Personally, I used to smoke, and have since quit. Cigarette butts ARE a littering problem, as they are everywhere, however as pointed out, developed countries are passing laws to make this problem worse, not better. Banning indoor smoking is a joke. If a bar wants to allow smoking, let them. A non-smoker doesn’t have to go there, and everyone that’s ever opened a bar has had the option to disallow smoking in their establishment. Being that smoking is the least of the problems in the westernized world, you’d think they’d focus on banning trans-fats in foods, controlling what’s sold through low-end fast food restaurants, and other actual health issues instead of cracking down on smoking, a complete NON-ISSUE. Those that take up arms against smokers are typically uneducated people that prefer to harp on whoever they’re told to dislike, rather than making a decision for themselves.

  • Dave

    I guess their putting in stupidity in tobacco too. What me hurting the environment, others never, you make this all up.
    Please smoke more, and faster we can use a few less of you, but please pick up after yourselves a little respect for the rest of us.

  • hello world :):)

    Really.. There are so many self righteous people responding… The hypocrisy behind the environment argument … I bet half of you don’t even recycle.. Or even bother turning appliances off at the wall when not in use. The question is… not whether nature will survive but whether we will survive nature.

    We all have our flaws, some more evident than others. We are creatures of habit. I smoke and I agree it’s disgusting. What I find more disgusting is the way non smokers talk about giving up a habit. I have been addicted to numerous substances in the past including heroin and codeine. I have found that nicotine is more addictive than opiates. Rubbishing smoker’s doest help.. Offering love and compassion does.

    What the seasons change in a lifetime…..

    Just my 2 cents

  • http://www.smokebutt.com Smoke This

    The idiot who wrote this article has his head up his butt.

  • http://smokers.com Smokey

    Makes me want to smoke!

  • http://smoke.com SmowKmYLunGs

    Let me smoke in peace.
    I see the anti-smokers, they a bunch of Methane Spewing, Drainage kings,fat asses driving SUVS that get 5 miles to the gallon.

    Before you point fingers, first take a cold hard look in the mirror, You bigoted & intolerant People.

    I smoke all you anti-smokers.

  • Idle Whispers

    10 Things You Should Know About This Article

    1 Its really, really old.

    2. It is laden with misinformation.

    3. Its penned by someone with a pseudonym.

    4. Its not really 10 points.

    5. Point #4 is true, and demonstrates a positive as to allowing indoor smoking. Further to this, indoor smoking being a choice would allow non smokers to go to areas catering to their needs.

    6. Point #9 relates to fines for littering. Cigarette butts being a strong example within the littering category, its the littering that is the fine and the cigarette butt being the medium so to speak.

    7. How are people finding this article? Me? StumbleUpon.

    8. Why no alterations to the article despite the inaccuracies that have been pointed out?

    9. No thanks, Bill.

    (Oh noes! I don’t have a point #10.)

  • http://www.iozzi.net liozzi

    Idle Whispers:

    You win the thread.

  • 곽영구

    가입만 하면 돈 버는 싸이트를 소개합니다
    당신은 이 글을 보시는 순간 이미 행운아 십니다
    이 글은 이글로코가 아닙니다
    가입 후 몇 개월 후에야 확실히 얼마인지도 모를 돈을 벌 수 있다고
    말하는 그런 곳이 결코 아닙니다
    가입 후 1개월 내에 당신에게 눈에 보이는 확실한 수익을 보장합니다
    지금까지 인터넷상에는 수많은 온라인 사업이 있었습니다
    이러한 사업들은 참여만하면 큰 돈을 벌 수 있다고 선전했지만
    실제 그 사업에 참여하여 돈을 번 사람들은 극소수였습니다
    왜 그럴까요
    왜 참여하기만 하면 돈을 벌 수 있다고 다들 떠드는데
    실제로는 극소수의 사람들만이 돈을 벌게 되는 걸까요
    이유는 간단합니다
    거의 대부분의 온라인 사업은 네트워크 사업입니다
    그리고 이러한 네트워크 사업은 자신과 함께 할 사람을
    추천하여야만 돈을 벌 수 있습니다
    또한 자신이 추천한 사람 역시 자기와 마찬가지로 다른 사람을
    추천하여야만 이러한 네트워크 사업으로 돈을 벌 수 있습니다
    다시 말해 당신이 그러한 사업으로 돈을 벌지 못하는 가장 큰 이유는
    바로 함께 할 사람을 원활하게 추천하지 못하기 때문입니다
    그렇다면 당신은 이러한 추천의 부담없이 가입만 하면 자신과
    함께 할 사업자가 자동으로 생긴다면
    즉.다시 말해 가입만 하면 무조건 돈을 벌 수 있는 사업이 있다면
    참여해 보시겠습니까
    제가 말씀드리는 내용은 결코 허왕된 얘기가 아닙니다
    추호의 거짓됨이 없이 가입만 하면 자동으로 하위 사업자기
    자신의 하부에 배치되고 결론적으로 참여만 하면 무조건
    돈을 벌 수 있는 사업이 있습니다
    제가 보내드릴 홈페이지에 무료 가입하시고 무료 정회원 등업 신청하신 후
    사업내용을 찬찬히 둘러보시고 사업에 대한 궁금한 점은 제게 말씀해 주십시오
    그리고 지금까지 보아왔던 또 실제 참여해 보았던 어떠한 온라인 사업과도
    비교하지 마십시오 이 메일을 접한 당신은 지금으로부터 정확히 3개월 내에
    최소한 몇 백만원 이상의 돈을 벌게 될 것입니다
    더불어 그 이후에는 그 액수가 얼마나 될지는 저도 장담 못할 정도로 커지게 될 것입니다
    다음 보내 드릴 홈페이지에 방문하셔서 느긋하게 무료 회원가입하신 후 찬찬히
    사업내용이나 둘러보시고 있으면 돈은 저절로 당신의 호주머니로 흘러 들어 갈 것입니다
    그것도 끊임없이 마치 틀어놓은 수도꼭지에서 흐르는 물처럼
    지속적으로 당신의 호주머니로 흘러 들어 갈 것입니다
    당신이 돈을 벌 수 있는 지금까지 겪어보지 못한 새로운 세계로 안내하겠습니다
    결정하십시오 결정하셨다면 [제가 이 사업을 하겠습니다]라는 글을 아래 메일로
    보내 주십시오 그러면 당일로 제반 자료를 메일로 보내 드리겠습니다
    그 자료를 보시고 당장 사업을 시작하시면 되겠습니다 당신이 이 사업을 하시면
    당신의 인생의 전환점이 되시는 부자가 될 수 있습니다
    보내실 메일입니다 h1112222b@hanmail.net

    관리자님 대단히 죄송합니다 삭제암호 aaddss
    원치 않으시면 귀 사이트 URL을 메일로 보내주시면 되겠습니다 대단히 죄송합니다

  • andy

    we are manufacturer of electronic cigarette, we can provide the environemtal cigarette. It has no tar, no pollution, no second-hand

  • andy

    I can leave a mail here: cbn11.17 at 163 dot com

  • http://www.TutkuSohbet.net Chat

    Litter sucks. However you seem to be exaggerating. A reliable source or two would help.

  • Linda

    Just because some of you feel the need (for whatever bizarre reason) to state how inaccurate this article is, it doesn’t mean that this isn’t a a big, DIGUSTING problem. Setting the statistic aside, I can personally say that when I’m at the beach, there is nothing that make me want to barf more than having nasty cigarette butts squish between my toes! Who cares about statistics, it’s a problem that could be fixed by people being responsible enough to dispose of their cancer sticks properly. It’s called being considerate!

  • http://www.iozzi.net liozzi

    The way I see it it shouldn’t be a smoking/nonsmoking issue. Litter is litter. narrowing the focus to cigarette butts implies that it’s ok to litter so long as it’s not cigarette butts. In reality the article was written in such a way that it doesn’t promote an anti-litter agenda, it promotes an anti-smoking agenda. If you want to promote an anti-smoking agenda, then be honest and do so. If you want to promote an anti-litter agenda, then do so.

  • Odo

    “For people who smoke, tossing a butt on the ground is part of the whole ritual,” said Thomas Novotny, a professor of epidemiology at UC San Francisco who focuses on cigarette butts. “It’s not considered litter.”

    It’s true, it is one of the most offensive things about smokers. That they so casually throw this crap in our faces has always bothered me. I had no idea the feeling of throwing their dirty mouth things into the public shared space is part of the smoker’s high. I wonder how they block out the fact that it is, in fact, litter, and offensive litter at that.

  • Odo
  • Idle Whispers

    “I had no idea the feeling of throwing their dirty mouth things into the public shared space is part of the smoker’s high.”

    Maybe you had no idea because it isn’t so?

  • Bill

    Just trying to get rid of my subscription. Bye.

  • Dee W

    I smoke & a few years ago banned myself from mindless butt-tossing. Simple efficient method of disposal is to flick off the hot ash and toss the butt into an empty aspirin or pill container, screw the top back on and shake it up to ensure no hotspots. Keep one of these butt-receptacles handy in purse, in car, in pocket & replace when full. This way you ALWAYS have your own personal butt-deposit with you no matter where you are! My question is – NOW is it ok to toss the butt-filled plastic receptacle into a recycle container???? I can find nothing on the internet to answer this question – can butts go safely into standard recycle bins?

  • http://www.smartstreets.co.uk Andrew Farish

    Cigarette litter is a huge problem worldwide and a causes massive long term damage to the environment. It is a growing problem too often overlooked or underestimated.

    It’s partly a problem of perception. People often seem to think that their tiny piece of disgarded smoking waste is too small to make a difference – or persuade themselves that everyone ‘else does it so why bother to dispose considerately’.

    Indeed, many cigarette smokers simply don’t think their cigarette butt will make any difference to the environment or assume that someone at the Council or Municipality is paid to pick up litter so there is no need for them to dispose of their cigarette ends considerately.

    It does not matter that cigarette ends are small – just like chewing gum – they ‘are’ litter as defined under UK law and local authorities across the UK are now levying on the spot Fixed Penalty Notices of up to £100 where litter wardens catch someone dropping cigarette ends or gum.

    In the UK it’s possible for fines of up to £2,500 to be applied in a Magistrates Court for dropping litter however small and Councils are taking a much tougher line to help change people’s behaviour.

    Research has shown that many smokers believe they are actually being responsible by dropping their cigarette end onto the pavement to grind it out under foot and make sure their cigarette end cannot start a fire.

    The following facts gathered from Encams (Keep Britain Tidy), CPRE (Campaign for the Protection of Rural England) and other research studies highlight the scale of the problem and the threats to the environment posed by inconsiderately discarded micro litter such as cigarette ends and chewed gum.

    • The most frequently cited reason for gum and butts littering is no convenient point of disposal – no bins or not enough bins.

    • Chewing gum is used by 28 million people in the UK.

    • 200 million cigarette butts are thrown away each day in the UK. (Source:ENCAMS)

    • In the UK alone more than a billion packs of chewing gum are sold each year.

    • Each piece of gum dropped costs from 10p to 30p remove.

    • It costs approximately £20,000 to clean up chewing gum in an average town centre. The clean up has to be carried out several times each year. (Source:ENCAMS)

    • 122 tons of cigarette butts and cigarette related litter is dropped every day in the UK. (Source: ENCAMS)

    • It takes 17 weeks to remove chewing gum from Oxford Street, but only 10 days for the street to be covered in gum again.

    • Street cleaning in the UK costs upwards of £413m each year– this is paid for by council taxes.

    • Chewed gum takes up to 5 years to biodegrade.

    • As the anti-smoking lobby’s campaign gains momentum, employers are banning smoking from not only indoor areas but outdoor areas too – employees are forced out on to public

    spaces where the facilities are limited to non-existent.

    • A full smoking ban in pubs and clubs is likely to substantially increase the cigarette litter burden.

    • In Ireland, 61% of people believe litter from smoking has risen since the Republic introduced a similar ban back in March 2004. ■ “Without proper facilities,smokers will turn our streets into a giant ashtray,”said Alan Woods,Chief Executive of Keep Britain Tidy. “Cigarette butts,boxes and matches are already our biggest litter problem,blighting 90% of our high streets – so we need to act now and ensure smokers have what they need to dispose of their rubbish correctly.”

    • In the UK,cigarettes account for over 40% of street litter.(Source:ENCAMS)

    • Up to 3.5 billion deposits of gum have at one time or another been spat or dropped on to our streets.

    • 92 per cent ofcity paving stones have had gum stuck to them.

    Local Authorities across the world work hard to stem the flow of this kind of litter to prevent it wreaking havoc on the environment.

    The answer is a combination of provision (of better more convenient disposal facilities), education (communicating the damage caused by this kind of litter and making people aware of considerate disposal options) and enforcement (penalizing people who drop cigarette and other forms of litter).

    The problem is increasingly attracting the attention of product designers and developers.

    Smartstreets, we have developed some highly innovative, award winning new disposal solutions for cigarette and gum litter which have been proven to massively reduce smoking related litter where employed.

    The multiple patent applied Smartstreets-Smartbin has won two international product design awards and for the first time, enables local authorities and street scene managers to install more litter bins in more places without adding clutter to the built environment by providing litter bins solutions that look good and retrofit ‘around’ exiting uprights such as light columns and sign posts as well as fitting onto walls and railings.

    Complementing existing street furniture and providing a neat, safe and effective cigarette bin in regularly spaced positions has been shown to almost eradicate cigarette litter in high-footfall areas.

    Manchester Council in the UK monitored their Smartstreets-Smartbins and proved that a twin, post-mounted Smartbin will gather up to 25,000 cigarette butts and pieces of gum every year. To see some galleries of over 40 Coucil customer installations around the world you can visit http://www.smartclients.co.uk or http://www.smartstreets.eu

    Manchester Council’s independent trials showed that a network of 300 Smartstreets-Smartbins in high footfall areas (such as the networks in the City of London and the London Boroughs of Hammersmith and Fulham, Haringey and Enfield) will collect up to 7.5 million cigarette butts and pieces of gum per year – that’s almost 30 metric tonnes of micro litter kept off the streets by these post mounted cigarette litter bins.

    Smartstreets are product designers who manufacture a wide range of unique cigarette and gum litter solutions – apart from Smartstreets-Smartbins (post and wall, railing mounted cigarette bins and gum bins) their product range includes Smartstreets-Minibins (personal, pocket ashtrays), Smartstreets-Gumsticks (gum board style solutions) and now, quick fit bicycle parking stations for Councils and private businesses which retro-fit to existing sign posts to provide dedicated bicycle parking using existing street furniture to reduce clutter.

    Cigarette litter is a menace and a massive threat to the environment the world over, If you would like further information about Smartstreets range of cigarette and gum litter solutions, please visit http://www.smartstreets.co.uk or call 44 (0)20 8742 3223.

    Further web galleries online at http://www.smartstreets.eu and http://www.smartclients.co.uk

    AWARDS: Smartstreets Ltd won an Honourable Mention in the Red Dot product Design Awards for the Smartstreets-Smartbin in 2008 (5,885 entries from 39 nations) and was awarded a Bronze Spark Award for product design in the USA in November 2009.

  • http://itscomplicatedonlinemovie.vox.com/ LinZi

    Keep up the good work! Look forward to reading more from you in the future. I think it will be also nice if you add “send to email” tool so people can forward the articles to their friends easily.

  • Sheryl Stark

    Provide places for cigarette butt litter just as there are receptacles for other types of litter and even recyclable materials.

  • Toni Bennett

    There is an answer to cigarette butt litter. Check out this website and tell me that if every smoker used one of those Pocket Buttys responsibly, there would be no buttls on the ground any more. This would mean that there would not be any more wildfires from discarded cigarettes or litter on the ground.
    Go to http://www.pocketbutty.com and check it out.

  • Karen

    I am an ex smoker (three years today). When I smoked (42 years) I always carried a mint container in either my pocket or purse and that is where my butts would go until I could find a garbage can.

  • SQ

    Well, said, Linda. I have become increasingly disgusted and concerned about cigarette butt litter in particular after noticing lately that it’s EVERYWHERE!!! Why do smokers think it’s OK to throw their litter – poisonous litter at that – anywhere they like? The problem is that enforcement just isnt’ there. I regularly see people throwing their butts on the ground, out their car windows, like it’s no big deal. Next time you’re at a stop light, look at the ground – it’s COVERED with butts! We were in Cuba this spring and I was disgusted to see smokers throwing their butts in planters, near the pool, everywhere – shame on you if you do this.
    And please, lets lobby to get law enforcement to take this more seriously and start charging people the same way they would if they caught them throwing a pop can on the ground.

  • Bill

    But just think how smug and superior you get to feel. Doesn’t it give you a nice glow?