Did you know? Cigarette smoke contains up to 4, 000 chemicals.

A cigarette butt can smoulder for up to three hours causing a grass fire or even a bushfire. . What are cigarettes filters made of? There is a lot of misinformation out there regarding cigarette butt litter. The biggest myth is that cigarette filters are biodegradable. In fact, cigarette butts are not biodegradable in the sense that most people think of the word. The acetate (plastic) filters can take many years to decompose. Smokers may not realize that their actions have such a lasting, negative impact on the environment. 95% of cigarette filters are made of cellulose acetate (a plastic), and the balance are made from papers and rayon. The cellulose acetate tow fibers are thinner than sewing thread, white, and packed tightly together to create a filter; they can look like cotton. Cigarette filters or butts are designed to trap tar and other toxic chemicals before they reach the smoker’s lungs. The filters are made from cellulose acetate (a material similar to rayon) and are coated with paper. Each butt contains the remnants of tobacco, paper and a filter. The residue in the butts contains toxic, soluble chemicals. These chemicals are deadly and add to the existing cocktail of environmental pollution

What happens after that butt gets casually flicked onto the street, nature trail, or beach? Typically wind and rain carry the cigarette into the water supply, where the toxic chemicals the cigarette filter was designed to trap leak out into aquatic ecosystems, threatening the quality of the water and many aquatic lifeforms. Cigarette butts may seem small, but with several trillion butts littered every year, the toxic chemicals add up!

Do your own experiment. The small. 1989. hydrogen cyanide. some saying it takes twelve years. Ask yourself if the cigarette you throw down is going to disappear anytime soon. You can also help to educate those around you such as friends. 1989). and other sources). When thrown from a motor vehicle into dried grass butts can start a grassfire or even a bushfire. Cigarette smoke contains up to 4. and others saying they never decompose at all (the filters are made of a type of acetate that never fully breaks down). hydrogen cyanide.Contents of Cigarette Smoke: When smoked. NO THEY ARE NOT! Different groups have done different studies and their results differ. nitrogen dioxide. family and coworkers about the impacts of littering cigarette butts and encourage them not to litter. but whether they realise that cigarettes are also bad for the environment ? Environmental impacts of discarded butts: Cigarette butts have become one of our most important litter issues. and hydrogen sulfide (U. Department of Health and Human Services. with some people saying cigarettes decompose in a year. green ashtray fits easily into a pocket or handbag. nicotine.S. ammonia. The problem has increased in recent years with government legislation for smoking restrictions in public buildings and restaurants forcing smokers outside. They are biodegradable. ammonia. quinoline. and see how long it stays there. formaldehyde. Rather than get into a scientific argument.000 chemicals so each second the butt is left alight. Put a cigarrete in an outdoor planter (use a string or pin to secure it). ask .S. arsenic. You can do this by using a Go Green Pocket Ashtray. benzpyrene. The ashtrays are fire resistant and re-usable and can be purchased from any Coles or Bi-Lo supermarket. Department of Health and Human Services. dangerous toxins are released into the environment. the tobacco and additives in a cigarette undergo complex chemical processes to form smoke that contains more than 4000 chemicals. We guarantee it will be a long term experiment! However long you finally decide it takes for a cigarette to decompose. If a butt is simply dropped. Flicked butts can cause fires. we ask smokers who litter to use common sense. it can smoulder for up to 3 hours. Cigarette butts and the environment Most people are aware of the health risks involved in smoking. including carbon monoxide. where butts are often littered. Forty-three constituents of tobacco smoke are known carcinogens including nitrosamines. arsenic and vinyl chloride (U. That is not what people mean when they use the word biodegradable. So what can I do? Always dispose of cigarette butts responsibly. cadmium.

This approach is sometimes attacked because it restricts smokers' rights (after all. more cigarette butts are being tossed directly into the environment. We must change the behavior of people who litter. Is the problem getting better or worse? Some studies indicated that since we have enacted indoor smoking bans. not a smoking issue! Fast-food related litter (food wrappers. newspapers. straws. 8. bottles. but banning fast-food restaurants and convenience stores is not the answer. cans. Often the use of these designated smoking areas are promoted for public health reasons (secondhand smoke) and fire prevention. 7. and will quickly disappear.yourself if you would like all such "biodegradable" items to be thrown on the ground. seating. peer pressure or enforcement of anti-litter laws. . Enforce litter laws.. napkins. What are the most common misconceptions about cigarette butts? Too many people believe that cigarette butts are too small to be litter. These areas should have ash receptacles. as well as a litter-control mechanism. Provide ash receptacles at all entry/exit points of buildings. open-air shopping malls. More and more public beaches. and take many years to decompose. at bus stops. lighting. smoking is a legal activity). Cigarettes Butt Litter—Questions and Answers 1. and college campus are trying to concentrate cigarette butt litter by requiring smokers to use only designated areas. we as a society would not tolerate this littering behavior 6. Why are people careless in discarding cigarette butts but not other forms of trash? Smokers incorrectly believe that cigarette filters are made of biodegradable cotton. instead of finding their way into landfills with other forms of solid waste. etc. What should be done to prevent the littering of cigarette butts? Studies show that more ashtrays will only help a little. paper grocery bags. parks. It wouldn't be pretty. cups. EDUCATION is the answer. If smokers and nonsmokers knew that cigarette butts contain toxins. etc. The only way we will prevent this form of litter is through changing people's behavior through education . such as cardboard containers. Have a "no smoking" policy or allow smoking only in designated areas. In fact. 5. and other areas where people frequently need to discard their cigarettes. or that they are cotton. 2. cigarette filters are made of plastic cellulose acetate. Shouldn't we ban smoking in some areas? This is a litter issue.) comprise the largest group of litter. 3. plastic forks. and it is trying to address one behavior (littering) by restricting another behavior (smoking). and be convenient. 4. 6. kleenex. Distribute pocket ashtrays. and they cost us millions of dollars in fire-fighting and cleanup.

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