Limits...
Cigarettes butts and the case for an environmental policy on hazardous cigarette waste.

Novotny TE, Lum K, Smith E, Wang V, Barnes R - Int J Environ Res Public Health (2009)

Bottom Line: They are perceived by much of the public (especially current smokers) to reduce the health risks of smoking through technology.Filters actually may serve to sustain smoking by making it seem less urgent for smokers to quit and easier for children to initiate smoking because of reduced irritation from early experimentation.Several options are available to reduce the environmental impact of cigarette butt waste, including developing biodegradable filters, increasing fines and penalties for littering butts, monetary deposits on filters, increasing availability of butt receptacles, and expanded public education.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA. tnovotny@mail.sdsu.edu

ABSTRACT
Discarded cigarette butts are a form of non-biodegradable litter. Carried as runoff from streets to drains, to rivers, and ultimately to the ocean and its beaches, cigarette filters are the single most collected item in international beach cleanups each year. They are an environmental blight on streets, sidewalks, and other open areas. Rather than being a protective health device, cigarette filters are primarily a marketing tool to help sell 'safe' cigarettes. They are perceived by much of the public (especially current smokers) to reduce the health risks of smoking through technology. Filters have reduced the machine-measured yield of tar and nicotine from burning cigarettes, but there is controversy as to whether this has correspondingly reduced the disease burden of smoking to the population. Filters actually may serve to sustain smoking by making it seem less urgent for smokers to quit and easier for children to initiate smoking because of reduced irritation from early experimentation. Several options are available to reduce the environmental impact of cigarette butt waste, including developing biodegradable filters, increasing fines and penalties for littering butts, monetary deposits on filters, increasing availability of butt receptacles, and expanded public education. It may even be possible to ban the sale of filtered cigarettes altogether on the basis of their adverse environmental impact. This option may be attractive in coastal regions where beaches accumulate butt waste and where smoking indoors is increasingly prohibited. Additional research is needed on the various policy options, including behavioral research on the impact of banning the sale of filtered cigarettes altogether.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Cigarettes and Cigarette Filters Collected in the United States in the International Coastal Cleanup, 1996–2007. Source: Ocean Conservancy 2007.
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f2-ijerph-06-01691: Cigarettes and Cigarette Filters Collected in the United States in the International Coastal Cleanup, 1996–2007. Source: Ocean Conservancy 2007.

Mentions: Most attention has been given to the cigarette butt waste problem because of the filters that end up on beaches. The annual Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) reports that ‘cigarette butts have been the single most recovered item since collections began’ [15]. Although volunteers collected 1,684,183 cigarette butts (33.6% of all debris) in the 2007 US Cleanup (Figure 2), these data likely underestimate total discarded filters. For example, a comprehensive cleanup in Orange County, California, yielded 20 times more butts than the estimated ICC total for that beach for the same year [16].


Cigarettes butts and the case for an environmental policy on hazardous cigarette waste.

Novotny TE, Lum K, Smith E, Wang V, Barnes R - Int J Environ Res Public Health (2009)

Cigarettes and Cigarette Filters Collected in the United States in the International Coastal Cleanup, 1996–2007. Source: Ocean Conservancy 2007.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License 1 - License 2
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2697937&req=5

f2-ijerph-06-01691: Cigarettes and Cigarette Filters Collected in the United States in the International Coastal Cleanup, 1996–2007. Source: Ocean Conservancy 2007.
Mentions: Most attention has been given to the cigarette butt waste problem because of the filters that end up on beaches. The annual Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) reports that ‘cigarette butts have been the single most recovered item since collections began’ [15]. Although volunteers collected 1,684,183 cigarette butts (33.6% of all debris) in the 2007 US Cleanup (Figure 2), these data likely underestimate total discarded filters. For example, a comprehensive cleanup in Orange County, California, yielded 20 times more butts than the estimated ICC total for that beach for the same year [16].

Bottom Line: They are perceived by much of the public (especially current smokers) to reduce the health risks of smoking through technology.Filters actually may serve to sustain smoking by making it seem less urgent for smokers to quit and easier for children to initiate smoking because of reduced irritation from early experimentation.Several options are available to reduce the environmental impact of cigarette butt waste, including developing biodegradable filters, increasing fines and penalties for littering butts, monetary deposits on filters, increasing availability of butt receptacles, and expanded public education.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA. tnovotny@mail.sdsu.edu

ABSTRACT
Discarded cigarette butts are a form of non-biodegradable litter. Carried as runoff from streets to drains, to rivers, and ultimately to the ocean and its beaches, cigarette filters are the single most collected item in international beach cleanups each year. They are an environmental blight on streets, sidewalks, and other open areas. Rather than being a protective health device, cigarette filters are primarily a marketing tool to help sell 'safe' cigarettes. They are perceived by much of the public (especially current smokers) to reduce the health risks of smoking through technology. Filters have reduced the machine-measured yield of tar and nicotine from burning cigarettes, but there is controversy as to whether this has correspondingly reduced the disease burden of smoking to the population. Filters actually may serve to sustain smoking by making it seem less urgent for smokers to quit and easier for children to initiate smoking because of reduced irritation from early experimentation. Several options are available to reduce the environmental impact of cigarette butt waste, including developing biodegradable filters, increasing fines and penalties for littering butts, monetary deposits on filters, increasing availability of butt receptacles, and expanded public education. It may even be possible to ban the sale of filtered cigarettes altogether on the basis of their adverse environmental impact. This option may be attractive in coastal regions where beaches accumulate butt waste and where smoking indoors is increasingly prohibited. Additional research is needed on the various policy options, including behavioral research on the impact of banning the sale of filtered cigarettes altogether.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus