10 Years Post–Clean Air Act, Butts Are Still a Problem

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Photo: Flickr/stevendepolo
New York’s Clean Air Act has cleared the air in enclosed areas and prevented some butts from being tossed on the ground. But there’s still work to do. Photo: Flickr/stevendepolo

This summer, New York celebrated the 10th anniversary of the expanded Clean Indoor Air Act, the state law that forced bars, restaurants, bingo halls and bowling alleys to be smoke-free. Since then, smoke-free laws have spread across the country like wildfire — and have even made their way around the globe.

This is all great news for people who want the freedom to enjoy smoke-free living, but how else has it affected them — and what does it mean to the environment? Considering that cigarette butts hold on to all of the carcinogenic chemicals, pesticides and nicotine that cause thousands to fall victim to tobacco-related disease and death each year, any action that reduces their use is a plus, not only for clean air and lungs, but for a clean earth and pure water supplies.

For some reason, butts are commonly tossed, flicked and dumped by the trillions into the global environment each year. This waste makes up roughly 25 to 50 percent of all collected litter items from roads and streets, according to Tobacco Control.

More prohibitions on smoking, particularly in outdoor public places like parks and beaches, could prevent some of the cigarette waste that’s now able to flow into the our waterways. That would be a clean-clean for everyone.

Via Huffington Post