More than four trillion cigarette butts are tossed to the ground or in the water every year and are the number one littered item globally. Cigarette butts are plastic and never biodegrade, and leach toxic chemicals into the environment and the water supply.
The ad campaign, entitled “Snuffed Out Marine Life,” depicts fish, frogs and birds ‘snuffed out’ in unusual graphics that both raise awareness and open a dialogue about this behavior and its direct link to wildlife.
“There’s been a cultural shift that has defined what types of behavior are just not acceptable anymore – like not picking up after your dog or throwing garbage out the car window,” said Gyro San Francisco President Drew Meyers. “We hope this awareness effort will help change behavior and make people think twice about flicking their cigarettes, especially for the sake of our planet.
“Cigarette butts are a huge issue for our ocean and coasts, and typically account for about one third of all litter items collected at Surfrider beach cleanups nationwide,” said Bill Hickman, Southern California Regional Manager with the Surfrider Foundation. “Studies have shown that the substances that leach out of cigarette butts can be toxic to micro-organisms and fish. The Surfrider Foundation network works in local communities around the country to reduce plastic pollution at the source and prevent cigarette butts from impacting our ocean, waves and beaches.”