Guest Post | E-cigarettes Found Harmful

E-cigarettes aren’t as “eco-friendly” as the industry claims. New research is proving the harmful impacts of this controversial product.

Although they are marketed as “eco-friendly” products, e-cigarettes are being increasingly scrutinized because their production, usage, and disposal pose significant threats to the environment.

One of the biggest concerns is the effect that e-cigarettes can have on indoor air quality. Recent studies examining the effects of e-cig vapors on surrounding air quality conclude that there is a significant increase of harmful particles in the air. The vapor also releases carcinogens into the surrounding area. As e-cigarettes gain popularity, the effects of “secondhand vaping” on the environment are becoming harder to ignore.

Yet another concern regarding e-cigarettes is their disposal. E-cigarettes are battery-operated products that contain plastic cartridges which are filled with liquid nicotine. Even after they have been disposed, high concentrations of metals (such as lead) continue to leach out of the devices. Furthermore, residual nicotine left in the cartridge can be toxic to the environment and anyone who comes into contact with it.

Even though more research needs to be done to understand the full impact of e-cigarettes on the environment, initial studies have already proven that these devices are not as environmentally-friendly as vendors may claim.


– Krishna Bommakanti, Berkeley Tobacco Prevention Program

Krishna coordinates the Tobacco Prevention Program’s Berkeley Youth Tobacco Educators Program,  which hosts weekly meetings with Berkeley middle and high school students to discuss a wide range of tobacco-related topics. Krishna develops the curriculum for BYTE meetings and works with BYTE interns to create community outreach events geared toward Berkeley’s youth.

An Open Letter to the Berkeley City Council

Our Policy team has been busy fighting cigarette butts in the City of Berkeley. After putting up the bus stop ads you helped to fund, we asked you to sign a petition urging the city council to prioritize this serious threat to water quality in the Bay. Nearly 300 residents responded, sending a clear message to the council that they need to play an active role in preventing toxic, plastic cigarette butts from littering our streets and the Bay. Below is the letter we sent to the council. Stay tuned for developments.

RE: Berkeley residents are concerned about cigarette butt litter

Dear Mayor Bates and Councilmembers,

Save The Bay is concerned about the impact of cigarette butt litter on local waterways and the Bay. Berkeley is one of the many communities in our region that is inundated with this toxic, plastic trash, which flows into storm drains and out to the Bay. Save The Bay estimates that over 3 billion cigarette butts are littered in the Bay Area each year, many of which will end up in our waterways. A single cigarette butt in a liter of water is toxic enough to kill half of the fish in that water – imagine the impact thousands can have on Berkeley creeks and along the shoreline.

We are not the only ones concerned. We asked our members in Berkeley to share their opinion with the city council by signing this petition:

I’m one of many Berkeley residents concerned about the effects of cigarette litter on our environment, wildlife, and water quality.

Berkeley has a serious cigarette butt litter problem. During one litter survey, city staff collected an average of 104 cigarette butts at locations throughout the city; bus stops had the most butt litter, with an average of 271 butts at each stop.

Cigarette butts are toxic, plastic trash. In addition to the dozens of toxic chemicals and heavy metals in the leftover tobacco, cigarette filters are plastic and do not biodegrade. They don’t belong in our creeks and along our shorelines.

In order to stem the tide of cigarette butts flowing from our streets into the Bay, our city needs to invest in outreach and take steps to ensure compliance with our existing outdoor smoking ban. Limiting outdoor smoking will keep our citizens and our environment safe and our creeks clean and beautiful.

As of today, 292 Berkeley residents have signed the petition – a strong indication that your constituents want the city to devote resources and attention to implementing solutions. We urge the council to prioritize this issue and look forward to working with you to keep cigarette butts out of our creeks and the Bay.

Gathering Support at Peet’s

Peets visit
Margaret spent an afternoon at Peet’s Coffee and Tea in San Francisco’s West Portal neighborhood.

Our supporters know that it takes the whole community – not just those with bay front views or those that are die-hard environmentalists – to protect the Bay. As a popular gathering spot for San Francisco’s West Portal neighborhood, Peet’s Coffee and Tea understands the importance of people gathering and inspiring passion and action towards a shared cause. This holiday season, the coffee shop hosted a matching gift Holiday Donation drive from December 17-24th to benefit Save The Bay.

The crafty Peet’s team decked the halls with handmade Save The Bay banners, decals, window decorations, and signs, fostering a festive atmosphere to celebrate our partnership. Enthusiastic baristas wore Save The Bay buttons (and the occasional octopus costume) and talked to customers about Save The Bay at the counter, providing them with a unique opportunity to contribute to the San Francisco Bay’s restoration and protection. On December 24th, the store gave away drip coffee and tea all day, and in return kindly asked customers to donate to Save The Bay. I visited on a busy Saturday afternoon and had the pleasure of speaking with customers about preventing plastic from polluting our waters, restoring wetlands for people and wildlife in the face of sea level rise, and volunteering out on the shoreline.

The connection and mutual respect between Save The Bay and Peet’s began with shared roots in the 1960’s in Berkeley. Save The Bay was founded in 1961 by three women in Berkeley who were literally watching the San Francisco Bay being filled before their eyes. The City of Berkeley had plans to double their size by filling in their portion of the Bay, as did many other cities. Five years later, the first Peet’s Coffee and Tea was started in the same city. Peet’s founder, Alfred Peet was a long-time member and donor to Save The Bay. As a supporter, his love for the San Francisco Bay continued even from his home in Oregon.

As Save The Bay has moved from an organization run by a dedicated group of volunteers, to a staff of over 30 people with more than 50,000 supporters and volunteers, Peet’s has kept our team energized, creative, and ready to take on the next challenge. We are grateful for our partnership with West Portal Peet’s, and want to share the excellent results of the Holiday Donation program, which brewed up nearly $3,000!

Are you inspired to support Save The Bay? Renew your membership today.

Mommy Bloggin’ for the Bay | Snoopy by the Shoreline

Mommy Bloggin’ for the Bay chronicles one parent’s journey to bring the Bay to the kid and the kid to the Bay.

Where else can you have expansive views of the Bay AND see Snoopy fighting with the Red Baron?  Along the Emeryville/Berkeley shoreline of course!

Being a Bay Area child of the 80’s, I remember looking for Snoopy and the Red Baron out the car window during trips through the East Bay.  And when I heard the Snoopy sculptures were back, I had to take my little dude to see them. What better way to bring my kid to the Bay! It’s just the right amount of whimsy and outdoor adventure for the whole family, with the beautiful Bay as the back drop.

How to find it? Along W. Frontage Road and the Bay Trail in Emeryville, park by the 80 S on-ramp (map) and take a walk on the pier to see the Snoopy and the Red Baron engaged in an epic dogfight. There happen to be spectacular views of Mt. Tam, Angel Island and the East Bay hills. And we even got a glimpse of some wintering ducks!

Snoopy vs Red Baron
Snoopy fights the Red Baron along the Emeryville/Berkeley shoreline.

Snoofee (as Ollie pronounces it) was a big hit.  Even our family dog enjoyed stretching his legs along the boardwalk and Bay Trail.

If you travel north on the Frontage Road, between Ashby and University, you will see Snoopy on his red and white dog house out in the Bay.  Driving by we say, “I spy Snoopy on his dog house!”

Snoopy dog house
“I spy Snoopy on his dog house!”

Do you remember the Snoopy and Red Baron sculptures? What is your favorite whimsical shoreline adventure? Share your memories with the “peanut” gallery: