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Butt clean up campaigns: wolves in sheep’s clothing?
  1. Simon Chapman
  1. Correspondence to:
 Professor Simon Chapman
 School of Public Health, University of Sydney, Building A 27, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia; simonchapman{at}

Statistics from

The best way to reduce cigarette butt littering is to reduce cigarette smoking

In 2005, matches and lighters were struck under an estimated 5.494 trillion cigarettes consumed by the world’s 1.3 billion smokers. The great majority of their non-biodegradable butts are thrown on the ground. Butts are easily the single most common form of litter, with one analysis showing they constitute 39% by weight of all litter.1 For many smokers, the world is their ashtray.


There is growing concern about this form of unsightly and dangerous2 pollution. Google shows 63 500 hits for “cigarette butt” and “litter” and the international tobacco industry has got a nasty lungful of this new ill-wind and may be coming soon with a big environmentally friendly smile to run a publicity campaign near you. In Australia, British American Tobacco has set up the Butt Littering Trust, with $A2.8 million (US$2.089 million, €1.619 million) allocated over four years. Philip Morris has spent $A331 775 (US$247 …

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