Cigarette butts are so ubiquitous, I’ve become accustomed to seeing them in the cracks of San Francisco sidewalks, poking out of the sand along Ocean Beach, flicked casually outside of bars and from the windows of cars. But what is actually happening with that cigarette butt, once it gets tossed into the street? To answer that question, we made an infographic:
Over the last thirty or so years, it’s become common knowledge that cigarettes cause cancer. But we can no longer afford to ignore the rest of the story. Cigarette litter is a form of toxic waste and an environmental hazard. When a cigarette butt washes down the storm drain and into the Bay, all of the nasty chemicals that come in tobacco filters end up there too, polluting our water and hurting wildlife.
It took me looking at the real impacts of tobacco litter to realize this, and now that I have, it pains me every time I see someone dropping a cigarette butt into the street. I’m still figuring out what to say to the smokers I see littering their butts. In the meantime, this infographic marks the beginning of our campaign to make it common knowledge that cigarette butts are toxic litter.