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Friday, May 29, 2009

Speaking of Butt Heads... Cigarette Litter Annoys People Across Nation

Posted By on Fri, May 29, 2009 at 2:57 PM

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The New York Times reports today that "dozens of municipalities across the nation" have passed laws banning smoking on beaches and playgrounds, because citizens are sick of not only stepping on cigarette butts, but paying millions of dollars a year to clean them up.

From the Times:

"Cigarette companies acknowledge the problem. The Cigarette Litter Prevention Program, created by the nonprofit group Keep America Beautiful, is financed by Philip Morris, the cigarette giant. The prevention program's statistics show that butts constitute 28 percent to 33 percent of all litter nationwide -- measured by item number, not volume. Similarly, the nonprofit Ocean Conservancy, which also receives money from Philip Morris, has found that butts account for 28 percent of littered items washing up on beaches worldwide."
A number of legislators I polled for the "Butt Heads" cover story this week complained about cigarette litter. Councilwoman Lynn Ricci of University City, a former smoker, said she hates it so much when people throw cigarette butts from their cars, that she happily goes and knocks on the car windows and asks people to cut it out.

But I couldn't recall if St. Louis Alderwoman Lyda Krewson's bill made any stipulations about smoking outdoors, such as on the riverfront, or in any public parks. I went back and checked. It does not. The bill is primarily concerned with indoor, enclosed spaces, and makes no mention of cigarette butts or litter, per se.

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