Oregon’s dramatic coastline and expansive public parks belong to all of us. Same goes for our mountain-fed rivers and countless wild streams. Tobacco spoils these natural treasures, butt by dirty butt.
Forget plastic bags or candy wrappers. Cigarettes, filters and butts are our most common source of litter.56 They’re everywhere you look, on our sidewalks and streets, and on our beaches. They do not biodegrade quickly or easily; in fact, they take decades to decompose. They’re poisonous to animals and children. When they’re discarded, they drift via storm drains and ditches into our water supply, where they release toxins including arsenic, lead and nicotine.57
Cigarette butts in the water aren’t just unsightly; they can clog the digestive tracts of birds, fish and other wildlife.58 Cleaning up cigarette waste is time consuming and expensive.
The pervasive, persistent litter that tobacco leaves behind—on land, in our waterways and in the ocean—lays waste to the wildlife and natural places that we all hold dear.