Monday, May 23, 2011

Monday #20- Don't Flick Cigarette Butts!

Make Today Matter...
  • The average smoker smokes 10,000 cigarettes a year.
  • Cigarette butts are the most commonly littered item.
  • Over 100 billion cigarette butts weighing 100 million pounds end up as litter each year.
  • Cigarette filters are made of cellulose acetate, a plastic that takes decades to decompose.
  • 25% of all ocean and beach debris is cigarette butts. They have been found in the stomachs of fish, birds, whales, and other marine creatures that mistake them for food.
  • Over 750 civilian deaths, 1,500 critical injuries, and $480 million in direct property damage occur each year due to over 25,000 cigarette-caused fires.
  • Annual cigarette butt litter, end on end, measures more than 2 million miles. That's 337 roundtrips from Los Angeles to New York!
Take action today!
  1. When you see a friend, neighbor, co-worker, or stranger smoking, ask him or her to discard the butt in an appropriate receptacle.
  2. If you see someone flick a cigarette butt on the ground, politely ask them to pick it up, or do it yourself. Maybe they will see you and get the point.
  3. Consider posting the above statistics at designated smoking areas at your workplace or school. 
  4. Purchase pocket ashtrays for those close to you who may smoke.
You matter.
Why is it that people who wouldn't even think about throwing trash into the street don't hesitate to flick a cigarette butt? 
Most people who litter their cigarettes either don't fully understand the consequences of their actions or they have rationalized their behavior. Imagine fewer fires as well as less litter, pollution, and harm to animals simply because people stopped throwing their cigarette butts out their car window or tossing them on the ground.

The sheer volume of cigarette butt litter isn't just ugly, it's hazardous!

(Adapted from Every Monday Matters: 52 Ways to Make a Difference by Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza)

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