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.
Tobacco is not only a health issue, it is also an environmental one. Billions of cigarettes -- about 267 billion in 2015 -- are smoked each year in the United States.
Cigarette butts are the most frequently littered item in the U.S., comprising 38% of all roadway litter. Not only are littered cigarette butts unsightly, they are also toxic. The waste from cigarettes can leach toxic chemicals into the environment, leading to land, water and air pollution.
Other Tobacco Litter Facts:
  • ​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.

For information about nicotine poisonings in Nebraska, check out the Data and Trends report found on the Publications and Reports page.

  • Cigarette filters are made from cellulose acetate, a plastic which, though technically biodegradable, only  breaksdown under severe biological circumstances, such as when  filters collect in sewage. In practice, cigarette butts tossed on the
    street do not degrade. Even under optimal conditions, it can take at least nine months for a cigarette butt to degrade!
  • ​Remnants of smoke cigarettes can pollute our soil, beaches and waterways. In one lab study, the chemicals that leached from a single cigarette (soaked for 24 hours in a liter of water) released enough toxins to kill 50% of the salt and freshwater fish exposed to it for 96 hours!
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).​


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