Thinking Green

Reducing Litter from Cigarettes

By: Danny Lipford

Cigarettes are extremely hazardous to everybody’s health, smoker and non-smoker alike. We’ve all seen people carelessly throw cigarette butts on the ground or out a car window. Besides being an obvious fire hazard, these nasty little things take 10 to 15 years to decompose, and during that time, chemicals like cyanide, arsenic and lead leach into the ground.

Don’t think that’s very much? Over 360 BILLION cigarettes were smoked in the U.S. last year. Even if only one tenth of one percent were discarded on the ground, that’s 300 thousand cigarette butts, literally enough to make you sick, leaking poison into the ground, contaminating water supplies.

Equally disturbing is the fact that cigarette waste represents over 30% of all the litter in the U.S. So, if you’re still foolish enough to smoke, do yourself and the rest of the world a favor…keep your butts where they belong.

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I don’t hide the fact that I detest cigarettes. It’s extremely hazardous to everybody’s health–smoker and non-smoker alike. We’ve all seen people carelessly throw cigarette butts on the ground or out a car window. Besides being an obvious fire hazard, these nasty little things take ten to fifteen years to decompose, and during that time, chemicals like cyanide, arsenic and lead leach into the ground. Don’t think that’s very much? Over 360 BILLION cigarettes were smoked in the U.S. last year. Even if only one tenth of one percent were discarded on the ground, that’s 300 thousand cigarette butts, literally enough to make you sick, leaking poison into the ground, contaminating water supplies. Equally disturbing is the fact that cigarette waste represents over 30% of all the litter in the U.S. So, if you’re still foolish enough to smoke, do yourself and the rest of the world a favor…keep your butts where they belong.


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  • Red Sanders Says:
    December 14th, 2016 at 8:33 am

    I am a retired biology teacher. I love nature and have taught outdoor classes to students and to other biology teachers. I too share the dislike for cigarettes. My dad was a heavy smoker, and we almost came to blows over him smoking during meals. I have lost friends who ignore my wishes to not smoke around me.

    However, I also shy away from folks who take an issue, such as this, and become fanatical and as obnoxious as some smokers by taking extreme positions and exaggerating the significance of facts.

    For example, you are HORRIFIED with the possibility of 300 thousand cigarettes being discarded on the ground making us sick, poisoning the water supply, etc., etc., etc. There are approximately 3.797 million sq. miles in the U. S. Let’s say most of the butts are discarded on 1/10 of that area. That equals to about 1 cigarette butt per SQUARE MILE annually! And you REALLY think that is going to poison us all? Combatting extreme with extreme completely turns off rational people like me.


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Reducing Litter from Cigarettes