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Support for cigarette filter waste policies among US adults


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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