Sponsored By California Department of Public Health

Sadly, cigarette butts aren’t just harmless pieces of paper and cotton. They’re actually toxic waste and leak hundreds of chemicals and known carcinogens into the environment. Right now, about 4.5 trillion discarded cigarette butts are trashing the planet, posing health risks to birds, fish, wildlife, and people.


Harmful to Your Health, Harmful to the Environment

While the health risks associated with tobacco-smoking are well-known, many are unfamiliar with the severe harm that cigarette butts can have on the environment They’re everywhere: on streets, on beaches, in parks, and in the oceans and waterways—with long-term negative effects.  As Adrian Grenier explains, “this stuff doesn’t go away for decades.”


Cigarette Butts Leak Toxic Chemicals

Cigarette butts leak hundreds of toxic chemicals like lead, arsenic, and nicotine into the environment. Newsflash—these are some of the same chemicals found in secondhand smoke, and once upon a time, paint, rat poison and insecticides. Additionally, cigarette butts are the #1 item found on beaches and roadways, accounting for more than one-third (34 percent) of the total litter collected in California—a task that costs $41 million annually to clean up.


This video is more than just a wake-up call to the problem of cigarette butts as toxic waste. It’s a call to action— a call to make Big Tobacco come clean. To find out more about how you can hold Big Tobacco accountable, visit TobaccoFreeCA.com/Come-Clean.

  1. Anita Marlin says:

    City governments are requiring smokers to step 20 feet from building entries to smoke, and to no longer smoke in their cars or apartments. This means more cigarette butts in the gutter, and eventually into our rivers and oceans. The city governments did not have the foresight or good sense to require ash trays outside of buildings, or to increase littering fines for disposing of cigarette butts in the street.

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