Cigarettes are the most littered item in America and the world. It is estimated that several trillion cigarette butts are littered worldwide every year.
Cigarettes are not biodegradable. They can take years to break down.
Wind and rain carry discarded cigarettes into the water supply, where the toxic chemicals such as lead, cadmium, and arsenic leak out into aquatic ecosystems, threatening the quality of the water and many aquatic life forms. Birds and aquatic animals can mistake the butts as food, resulting in serious digestive problems that may lead to death.
According to the National Fire Protection Agency, upwards of 90,000 fires every year in the United States alone are caused by cigarettes. Cigarette-induced fires claim hundreds of lives in the United States each year, and injure thousands more, not to mention the millions of dollars that go up in smoke in property damage.
The cost of cleaning up litter is great — whether the litter is cigarette butts, fast-food containers, beverage containers, or illegally dumped tires.