Cigarette Litter: The Problem and Facts

In the past decade, cigarette smoking in America has decreased 28%, yet cigarette butts remain the most littered item in the U.S. and across the globe.1 Dropping cigarette butts and cigar tips to the ground, putting them in planters, and disposing of them in waterways is littering.

The overall littering rate for cigarette butts is 65%, and tobacco products comprise 38% of all U.S. roadway litter.2 

Cigarette butt littering is often associated with the physical environment (38%), i.e. for every additional ash receptacle, the littering rate for cigarette butts decreases by 9%. Cigarette butt littering is also attributable to individual motivations; for example, 77% of individuals in a survey stated they did not consider cigarette butts as litter.2

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1 "America Reaches Major Anti-Smoking Milestone," The American Legacy Foundation, Nov. 19, 2008.
2 "Litter in America" 2009 KAB Research.