cigarette litter prevention

U.S. seeing uptake in cigarette litter prevention

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Communities in the United States that implemented The Cigarette Litter Prevention Program in 2016 saw an overall 60 per cent reduction in litter.

National non-profit Keep America Beautiful spearheaded the program now in its fifteenth year and funded by tobacco companies. In the past. Canada has also launched the program in places like colleges and universities and special event locations.

In the U.S., this is the largest program targeting cigarette litter. Last year’s reduction was up 10 per cent from the previous year. For 2017, nearly $300,000 will be delivered to 37 grant recipients, such as local governments, business improvement districts and parks and recreation departments to stop littering.

“Keep America Beautiful and our Cigarette Litter Prevention Program partners are dedicated to educating consumers on the hazards of litter and providing the tools to change their behavior,” Keep America Beautiful COO Becky Lyons. Recent cigarette litter reduction numbers show we are moving in the right direction towards making the littering of cigarette butts – and littering in general – socially unacceptable in our country.”

Since its establishment, the program has cut cigarette butt litter by approximately half based on local measurements taken in the first four months to six months after program implementation. Ongoing monitoring has also lead to sustaining and even increasing reductions.

According to Litter in America, Keep America Beautiful’s landmark study of litter and littering behaviour, cigarette butt litter occurs most often at transition points – areas where a person must stop smoking before proceeding into another area, such as bus stops, entrances to stores and public buildings, and the sidewalk areas outside of bars and restaurants, among others.

Parties interested in starting this program in their community can access the Guide to Cigarette Litter Prevention online, and are advised to integrate four approaches:

  • Encourage enforcement of litter laws, including cigarette litter.
  • Raise awareness about the issue using public service messages.
  • Place ash receptacles at transition points such as entrances to public buildings.
  • Distribute pocket or portable ashtrays to adult smokers.

 

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