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The Florida Department of Health works to protect, promote & improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county, & community efforts.

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CIGARETTE LITTER REMAINS A 1.69 MILLION POUND PROBLEM

April 21, 2016

CIGARETTE LITTER REMAINS A 1.69 MILLION POUND PROBLEM 

NEW PORT RICHEY. – This Earth Day, the Florida Department of Health’s Tobacco Free Florida Program and Pasco County remind Floridians that cigarette butts are the most littered item in the world, adding up to 1.69 million pounds of toxic litter each year.1 On Friday, April 22, 2016, smokers can use this observance to consider what they can do to help the environment – including quitting tobacco use.

To raise awareness, Tobacco Free Florida of Pasco County is participating in Earth Day which is being held by Covanta. The Earth Day event takes place on April 23, 2016 at Crews LAKE Park from 9:00am until 3:00pm.

“Smoker’s litter continues to impact the environment. As part of the Great American Clean Up DOH-Pasco staff recently participated in collecting more than 35 bags of garbage in Pasco.” Said Mike Napier, County Health Officer. “Helping your friends and family quit smoking improves their health and your environment”

Although smokers are legally required to properly discard their used cigarettes, 76.7 percent – about three out of four – throw them on the ground or out of a car window instead.2,3 Cigarette butts are not biodegradable and can stay in the environment for more than a decade, allowing tobacco product waste to continue accumulating.

Many discarded cigarettes also end up in storm drains where they get carried into streams, rivers and oceans. This impacts fish, birds, whales and other marine creatures that mistake the toxic filters for food. In addition to ending up in the water, they also end up on beaches across Florida. In 2014, 229,610 cigarette butts were picked up on beaches throughout the state in a single day.

Floridians who want to quit smoking are encouraged to find the cessation services that workbest for them at tobaccofreeflorida.com.

About Tobacco Free Florida

The department’s Tobacco Free Florida campaign is a statewide cessation and prevention campaign funded by Florida’s tobacco settlement fund. Tobacco users interested in quitting are encouraged to use one of the state’s three ways to quit. Since 2007, more than 137,000 Floridians have successfully quit, using one of these free services. To learn more about Tobacco Free Florida and the state’s free quit resources, visit www.tobaccofreeflorida.com or follow the campaign on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TobaccoFreeFlorida or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/tobaccofreefla.

The department, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts. Follow us on Twitter at @HealthyFla and on Facebook. For more information about the Florida Department of Health please visit www.FloridaHealth.gov.