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Support for cigarette filter waste policies among US adults
  1. Minal Patel1,
  2. Alison F Cuccia1,
  3. Shanell Folger1,
  4. Adam F Benson1,
  5. Donna Vallone1,
  6. Thomas E Novotny2
  1. 1 Schroeder Institute, Truth Initiative, Washington, DC, USA
  2. 2 Graduate School of Public Health, San Diego State University, San Diego, California, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Minal Patel, Schroeder Institute, Truth Initiative, Washington DC 20002, USA; mpatel{at}


Introduction Little is known on whether cigarette filter-related knowledge or beliefs are associated with support for policies to reduce their environmental impact.

Methods A cross-sectional, population-based sample of US adults aged 18–64 years (n=2979) was used to evaluate filter-related knowledge and beliefs by smoking status using data collected between 24 October 2018 and 17 December 2018. Multivariate logistic regression models explored whether these knowledge and belief items were associated with support for two policies, a US$0.75 litter fee and a ban on sales of filtered cigarettes, controlling for demographic characteristics and smoking status.

Results Regardless of smoking status, 71% did not know plastic was a cigarette filter component and 20% believed filters were biodegradable. Overall, 23% believed filters reduce health harms and 60% believed filters make it easier to smoke; 90% believed cigarette butts are harmful to the environment. Individuals believing cigarette butts harmed the environment were more likely to support a litter fee (adjusted OR (aOR)=2.33, 95% CI: 1.71 to 3.17). Individuals believing that filters are not biodegradable had higher odds of supporting a litter fee (OR=1.47, 95% CI: 1.15 to 1.88). Respondents believing that filters do not make cigarettes less harmful were more likely to support a litter fee (aOR=1.50, 95% CI: 1.20 to 1.88) and filter ban (aOR=2.03, 95% CI: 1.64 to 2.50). Belief that filters make it easier to smoke was associated with decreased support for a filter ban (aOR=0.69, 95% CI: 0.58 to 0.83).

Conclusions Comprehensive efforts are needed to educate the public about the impact of cigarette filters in order to build support for effective tobacco product waste policy.

  • public policy
  • environment
  • surveillance and monitoring
  • public opinion

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  • Contributors This study was conceptualised by MP and TEN. MP drafted the original paper and provided oversight of data analyses. AFC led and conducted the analyses. SF gathered background literature research and helped draft the manuscript. AFB provided content area expertise and assistance with the methods. DV and TEN provided research oversight and provided final review/edits. All authors provided final review and edits of the manuscript.

  • Funding This research was funded by Truth Initiative. Dr TEN is supported by the University of California’s Tobacco Related Disease Research Program (CA TRDRP) under Grant No. 29NP0001.

  • Competing interests None declared.

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

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.