How Littered Cigarette Butts Spoil the Environment

Littered cigarette butts are more than just an eye sore. According to environmental clean-up reports, cigarette butts are the No. 1 littered item on U.S. roadways and the No. 1 item found on beaches and waterways worldwide.

A new survey conducted by Legacy, shows that while more than 88 percent of Americans surveyed think that cigarette butts are an environmental concern, more than 44 percent of those polled who had ever smoked admit to having dropped a cigarette on the ground and nearly 32 percent have dropped a cigarette out of a car window.

Toxic tobacco trash includes a plastic filter which biodegrades only under extreme conditions, putting wildlife in danger and wreaking costly havoc on U.S. waterways, parks, beaches and roadways.

[ Also Read: Celebrities Say Our Planet is Not an Ashtray ]

Additionally, cigarette butts contain carcinogens that can leach into soil, and chemicals that are poisonous to wildlife, threatening to contaminate water sources.

This month in advance of Earth Day, Legacy has partnered with the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics (Leave No Trace) to raise awareness and mobilize action surrounding this toxic problem with a new set of television and radio Public Service Announcements (PSAs) available in English and Spanish, urging the public to ‘Rethink Butts’ and take a new perspective on this environmental issue.

Over the prior 30 days, Americans surveyed reported seeing this form of toxic litter on sidewalks (80.1 percent), in parks (32.1 percent), on playgrounds (16.6 percent) and on beaches (15.7 percent). While more than 93 percent of those surveyed agree that dropping a cigarette butt on the ground is a form of littering, it is alarming that so many smokers still litter them.

The Consumer OmniPulse Survey is conducted once a week among a demographically representative sample of 1,200 U.S. adults (age 18+) from the Research Now Consumer Panel. The sample framework is selected based on U.S. Census data for age, ethnicity, gender, region, and income.

Legacy worked with The Butler Bros, an Austin Texas based branding and production company, to develop the ‘Rethink Butts’ PSA. The Butler Bros also partnered with Psyop, a production company that specializes in high-end 2D and 3D animation; live action direction and visual effects, for the creative animation used in the spots.

Legacy helps people live longer, healthier lives by building a world where young people reject tobacco.

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