I feel another grump coming on about how some people carelessly discard their cigarette butts. My sweet puppy recently ate and swallowed one he picked up the ground, causing me considerable worry. Cigarette filters are not biodegradable, and they are the most common form of litter. According to Wikipedia, Coastal Cleanup volunteers pick up an estimated 53 million cigarette butts yearly. A single butt soaked in a liter of water for 4 days will kill topsmelt and freshwater fathead minnows. In addition to this toxicity level, cigarette butts factor heavily in littering, environmental damage, and suggested lung damage. In 2006 Internation Coastal Cleanup found that cigarettes and butts amounted to 24.7% of the total garbage collected, over twice as much as any other category.

It would be so much better not to throw cigarette butts on the ground. This would protect children and/or puppies from picking them up. Since the filters are not biodegradable there is still the problem of them increasing landfill demands, and they definitely are unsightly in public areas. Next time you walk from your car across a parking lot notice how many butts/filters you see on the ground and in the gutters. There’s certainly room for improvement, so smokers give it some thought.