Cigarette Butts Are Toxic Waste | Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
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Cigarette Butts Are Toxic Waste

April 09, 2013


We know that cigarettes are the number one cause of preventable death in the United States and around the world.

Here’s a fact that isn’t as well-known: Cigarettes are also the number one littered item on U.S. roadways and on beaches and in waterways worldwide.

In advance of Earth Day later this month, Legacy and the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics have launched a new set of TV and radio Public Service Announcements (PSAs) to raise awareness and spur action about this form of toxic trash. The campaign urges smokers and nonsmokers alike to “Rethink Butts” and consider the harm they cause to the environment.

According to Legacy, “The dangers from smoking don’t stop once a cigarette is stubbed out. Cigarette butts leach toxic chemicals and carcinogens that pollute the environment. They’re poisonous to wildlife and can contaminate water sources.”

A story in The New York Times highlights the new campaign and the environmental harm caused by cigarettes, noting that more than one million cigarette butts were removed from U.S. beaches in 2011 as part of an annual coastal cleanup.

Watch the PSA and learn more about the campaign at