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Smokers' Impact
Smokers' Responsibilities
Smokers discount the impact of cigarette butt litter. A 2008 survey of over 1,000 smokers found that 35% toss five or more cigarette butts per pack on the ground.¹ Because a cigarette butt is small, smokers tend to overlook the consequences of littering.² Cigarette litter research in Australia found that many smokers:
  • Don’t believe littering their cigarette butts is inappropriate behavior; some believe they’re acting responsibly by dropping cigarettes to the ground and stepping on them to extinguish them
  • Consider dropping butts into gutters or storm drains a safe way to extinguish a cigarette ³
  • Blame their littering on a lack of well-placed bins for cigarette butts - over 80% of smokers said they would properly dispose of their butts if suitable bins were available

Most cigarette littering happens at transition points. These are areas where a smoker must extinguish a cigarette before proceeding, such as outside retail stores, hotels, and office buildings; before entering beaches, parks, or other recreation areas; and at roadside rest areas, parking lots, bus shelters, and train platforms. Messages about cigarette butt litter and ash receptacles at transition points are an important catalyst for changing behavior.

Resources
  • ¹ iQ Research and Consulting. "Keep America Beautiful Pocket Ashtray Study," January 2008
  • ² McGregor Marketing for Keep Australia Beautiful, 1998
  • ³ Sweeney Research for Tobacco Information Centre and Keep South Australia Beautiful, 2000

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