Last summer, I wrote a blog post about how bad cigarettes are for the environment. Today, I want to follow-up with the problems associated with cigarette litter.
Seeing people toss their cigarette butts outside makes my blood boil. I don't know why some smokers think that somehow cigarette butts don't "count" as litter. Throwing cigarette butts on the ground is disgusting, careless, and ugly. And it needs to stop.
SmokeFree.Gov has resources for those who want to quit smoking. But for those who haven't been able to successfully quit, please do not litter your butts. Even SmokingSection.com, a PRO smokers group, says: "Considerate smokers don't litter. Those who do deserve criticism as much as any other litterer."
Billions of cigarettes are littered every day. Cigarette filters are not biodegradable, and even if they were, I find this to be an invalid excuse. My used tissue is biodegradable, but I'm not going to toss it out from my car window, like one would a cigarette. And while one may think that it is just "one little cigarette," one cigarette from each smoker who litters their butts adds up to a lot.
Cigarette litter can cause fires. They also end up in waterways and sometimes marine life will ingest them. There was a study done last year stating that they kill fish. Read here.
Luckily, portable ashtrays are available. You can buy ButtsOut, which will fit in your pocket. Also a great makeshift ashtray is an Altoids container!
Urge your local government to strongly enforce litter laws to ALL who pollute. Write to the tobacco companies and ask that they help, such as creating a cigarette box that you can dispose of cigarette butts. Suggest to stores that sell cigarettes that they also carry products like ButtsOut or other pocket-sized ashtrays. Implement a cigarette litter prevention task force.
This problem isn't going to go away on its own, but everyone can make a difference.