The Impact of Cigarette Butts on the Environment

Author: Green Cyprus  //  Category: Green Chat


With Lets DoIt Cyprus clean-up day approaching, Green Cyprus hopes that this major campaign will help play a part in making everyone think twice about littering our environment. But we’re not just talking food packaging and other miscellaneous waste. We’re talking about one of our biggest littering crimes here in Cyprus…cigarette butts!

Did you know that cigarette butts are one of the smallest environmental offenders and can create devastating consequences? We all know that cigarette butts that haven’t been fully extinguished can cause forest fires, but how else do they affect the environment? Having one of the highest percentage of smokers in Europe is bad enough and sadly there are negative consequences in Cyprus; cigarette butts are a common site everywhere, especially on our beaches.

Cigarette filters are not biodegradable. They’re made from cellulose acetate, a plastic that absorbs tobacco “tar” and eventually breaks down in the environment, but never loses its toxicity and can poison essential links in the aquatic food chain.

The Effects on Wildlife

Just like some people smoke them because they think they look cool, animals find cigarette butts interesting. Animals have no idea what a cigarette butt is, but it has some sort of fragrant stuff in the middle and seems edible. While larger mammals might survive eating a butt, small animals and especially marine life will die.

The Cost of Cigarette Butt Cleanup

Cigarette butts might be small, but the cost to clean them up isn’t. Small cigarette butts take a long time to rake and pick up, are an eye sore and a big cost for everyone. Who pays for the cleanup of cigarette butts? You do, with your taxes!

What Smokers Can Do to Help

Smokers can do one small thing. Don’t litter. Dispose of your cigarette butts properly and if you’re enjoying a day at the beach, don’t stick them in the sand!


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