What's the Latest Development?

An article recently published in Current Environmental Health Reports reveals that, aside from being unsightly, cigarette butts and other types of litter associated with tobacco products -- matches, packaging, and the like -- can cause serious harm to the environment. Of the six trillion cigarettes smoked every year, approximately three-quarters of them "are simply flicked away along a roadside or pavement." Both the tobacco chemicals and the plastic non-biodegradable filters within the butts can contaminate soil and water sources.

What's the Big Idea?

To call attention to the potentially serious danger of tobacco waste litter, researchers and co-authors Thomas Novotny and Elli Slaughter make several recommendations in their article. These include a ban on filtered cigarettes -- which are no safer than non-filtered varieties, according to a recent National Cancer Institute review -- as well as "a deposit-return scheme similar to that used for glass and metal beverage containers." They also believe the tobacco industry should be held responsible for costs relating to litter clean-up.

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Read it at ScienceDaily