Kick Butts for Earth Day
SOS Encourages Quitting Tobacco, Reducing Litter
Stamp Out Smoking (SOS) encourages Arkansans to reduce pollution this Earth Day by increasing awareness of the large amount of litter caused by improperly discarded cigarette butts. Celebrated in more than 175 countries, Earth Day is commemorated every year on April 22 to recognize Earth’s natural environment and work toward a cleaner, healthier planet for all.
“It is a common assumption that since tobacco is a naturally grown plant, its waste is harmless. Smokers toss their cigarette butts into public areas, not realizing that the plastic filters and remainders of tobacco are poisonous to children, plants and animals,” said Dr. Gary Wheeler, medical director for the Arkansas Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Program. “It is important that we educate individuals—especially our youth—about playing an active role in creating a healthier, safer environment today and tomorrow.”
Millions of cigarette butts, including plastic filters and remnants of smoked cigarettes, are discarded into natural environments, streets, sidewalks and other public places. Some of these butts are carried as runoff to drains and end up polluting rivers, beaches and oceans. Under ideal conditions, cigarette butts can take months to break down; even then, only fragmenting into small pieces of plastic, toxic waste. An economic study based on an audit in California estimates that it costs more than $5.6 million annually to clean up cigarette litter.
To restore our communities, SOS encourages Arkansas adults and youth to seek out local Earth Day activities in their area. Activities for schools and communities include letter writing campaigns against cigarette litter and environmental surveys that can be used to establish policies.
Click to learn more about how you can get involved and download the Earth Day Tobacco Control Guide.