Article Text

Tobacco industry responsibility for butts: a Model Tobacco Waste Act
  1. Clifton Curtis1,
  2. Thomas E Novotny2,
  3. Kelley Lee3,
  4. Mike Freiberg4,
  5. Ian McLaughlin5
  1. 1Cigarette Butt Pollution Project, Washington, USA
  2. 2Graduate School of Public Health, San Diego State University, , San Diego, California, USA
  3. 3Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada
  4. 4Public Health Law Center, William Mitchell College of Law, St. Paul, Minnesota, USA
  5. 5ChangeLab Solutions, Oakland, California, USA
  1. Correspondence to Clifton Curtis, JD, Policy Director, Cigarette Butt Pollution Project, 3409 Quebec St NW, Washington, DC 20016; ccurtis{at}


Cigarette butts and other postconsumer products from tobacco use are the most common waste elements picked up worldwide each year during environmental cleanups. Under the environmental principle of Extended Producer Responsibility, tobacco product manufacturers may be held responsible for collection, transport, processing and safe disposal of tobacco product waste (TPW). Legislation has been applied to other toxic and hazardous postconsumer waste products such as paints, pesticide containers and unused pharmaceuticals, to reduce, prevent and mitigate their environmental impacts. Additional product stewardship (PS) requirements may be necessary for other stakeholders and beneficiaries of tobacco product sales and use, especially suppliers, retailers and consumers, in order to ensure effective TPW reduction. This report describes how a Model Tobacco Waste Act may be adopted by national and subnational jurisdictions to address the environmental impacts of TPW. Such a law will also reduce tobacco use and its health consequences by raising attention to the environmental hazards of TPW, increasing the price of tobacco products, and reducing the number of tobacco product retailers.

  • Denormalization
  • Environment
  • Public policy
  • Tobacco industry

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Supplementary materials


  • Contributors CC and TEN conceived of this article and the Model Tobacco Waste Act (see online supplementary file); CC composed first draft of the submitted article and the initial draft of Model Tobacco Waste Act, and TEN substantially edited the initial article draft and finalised the submitted article. KL provided substantial editing to the draft manuscript and Model Tobacco Waste Act. IMcL and MF contributed to development of the Model Tobacco Waste Act and to editing of the final article submission.

  • Funding This work was supported by the US National Cancer Institute of the US National Institutes of Health under award No. 2R01CA091021-10A1 and by the University of California Office of the President's Tobacco-related Disease Research Program under award No. 21XT-0030.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement We would like to include our Model Legislation as a online supplementary file.