Why is it that people who wouldn't even think about throwing trash into the street don't hesitate to flick a cigarette butt? Most people who litter their cigarettes either don't fully understand the consequences of their actions, or they have rationalized their behavior. Imagine fewer fires as well as less litter, pollution, and harm to animals simply because people stopped throwing their cigarette butts out their car window or tossing them on the ground. The sheer volume of cigarette butt litter isn't just ugly...it's hazardous.

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  1. If you smoke today, don't litter the butt.
  2. When you see a friend, neighbor, co-worker, or stranger smoking, ask him or her to discard the butt in an appropriate receptacle.
  3. If you see someone flick a cigarette butt on the ground, politely ask them to pick it up, or do it yourself. Maybe they will see you and get the point.
  4. Consider posting the statistics below at designated smoking areas at your workplace or school.
  5. Don't smoke.


  • The average smoker smokes 10,000 cigarettes a year.
  • Cigarette butts are the most commonly littered item in the U.S.
  • Over 100 billion cigarette butts, weighing 100 million pounds, end up as litter each year.
  • Cigarette filters are made of cellulose acetate, a plastic that takes decades to decompose.
  • 28% of all ocean and beach debris is cigarette butts. They have been found in the stomachs of fish, birds, whales and other marine creatures that mistake them for food.
  • Over 858 civilian deaths, 1,591 civilian injuries, and $480 million in direct property damage occur each year due to over 25,000 cigarette-caused fires.
  • 1 in 4 victims of cigarette-caused fires is not the smoker whose cigarette started the fire.
  • Annual cigarette butt litter, end on end, measures more than 2 million miles. That is 337 roundtrips from Los Angeles to New York.
  • Imagine a 7 foot wide cigarette butt highway stretching across the country.

More Ways to Make Your Mondays Matter
Excerpted from: Every Monday Matters: 52 Ways to Make a Difference by Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza. Copyright © 2008 Every Monday Matters LLC. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.


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