Tobacco Free Nebraska for a great state of health

                     Tobacco Free Nebraska

How Toxic is Tobacco Litter?


Cigarette Butt LitterWalk around any block in your town and chances are you’ll see a number of cigarette butts on the ground. Try counting them sometimes; you'll likely lose track due to the sheer volume.
Cigarette butts are the most frequently littered item in the U.S., comprising 38% of all roadway litter.1 Not only are littered cigarette butts unsightly, they are also toxic.

  • Two cigarette butts, if eaten by a young puppy, can cause death in a relatively short period of time.2
  • Just like puppies, young children are known to put many things - including cigarettes - in their mouths. In fact, in 2009, the American Association of Poison Control Centers fielded nearly 7,500 reports of potentially toxic exposures to tobacco products among U.S. children younger than 6.Additionally, in 2013, the Nebraska Regional Poison Center received 183 calls on cigarettes or cigarette butts up from 96 calls in 2012. Many of the calls were related to children under 5 years old.
  • Cigarette filters are made from cellulose acetate and only biodegrade under conditions described by researchers as “severe biological circumstances” like when the filters end up in raw sewage.4 Most cigarette butts that are littered don’t end up in raw sewage and don’t biodegrade.
  • Cigarettes and cigarette butts are a major source of pollution on our nation’s beaches and waterways.  In 2009, researchers evaluated the effects of left-over cigarette butts on marine life and found that chemicals from just one filtered cigarette butt had the ability to kill half the fish living in a one-liter container of water.5
Cigarette Butt LitterIf you’re a tobacco user, the next time you get ready to fling your cigarette butt out the car window or onto the ground, think about the toxic impact on our environment and discard your used tobacco product properly.

For help in quitting tobacco, contact the Nebraska Tobacco Quitline toll-free at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (784-8669).​



1Litter in America, Accessed: 8/15/13
2Secondhand Smoke & Pets, Accessed: 8/15/13
3Cigarettes and the EnvironmentAccessed: 8/15/13
5Cigarette Butt Pollution Project, Accessed: 8/15/13


For more information, contact:
Tobacco Free Nebraska
P.O. Box 95026
Lincoln, Nebraska 68509-5026
Phone: (402) 471-2101
Email: TFN Info