General Question

tennesseejac's avatar

Is it considered littering when someone throws a cigarette butt on the ground?

Asked by tennesseejac (3778points) February 18th, 2009

How do you feel about this?

If you are a smoker do you do this?

Im sure the butts degrade or decompose in a couple of years, but this drives me crazy when I see someone throw one out the window or on the ground

I always want to pick it up and throw it in their face

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20 Answers

kevbo's avatar

Those people are thoughtless a-holes.

If I have a cigarette, I squish out the cherry, step on it, and throw the butt in a trash can. How difficult is that?

SuperMouse's avatar

If it isn’t considered littering it should be. I would like to walk up to everyone I see do this and hand them a card that reads The World is NOT Your Ashtray!

aprilsimnel's avatar

Yup. It’s litterbugging, all right. Birds can choke on those butts.

Baloo72's avatar

I’m not a smoker and I hate litter. though you do find some interesting things when cleaning up the highways

“Birds can choke on those butts” is a sentence that I never really expected to hear.

Vinifera7's avatar

It’s too much effort for these people to bend down and put out their butts properly then throw them in the trash. In Tokyo some people carry pocket ashtrays so that they can put out their butts and save them until they are near a trash bin.

Bluefreedom's avatar

Yes, it is certainly littering in my opinion. Where I see this most, honestly, is people throwing cigarette butts out the window of their car.

TaoSan's avatar

I’m a heavy smoker, but I think throwing butts all over the place is horrible. And in terms of biodegradability, those fibers are actually a form of plastic, cellulose acetate.

Try decades if not longer.

Flicking one off is a horrible thing, and it makes me want to punch people (littering generally does).

Darwin's avatar

Yes, it is littering. It looks ugly and messy.

At least one municipality defines it thusly:

Littering Fees and Charges
Littering Infringement Fees 2008/2009
Minor Littering
Infringement fee $100

Minor littering is defined as depositing in or on a public place or in or on private land without the consent of the occupier: Cigarette butts; Wrappers/paper; Chewing gum; Small food waste; Take-away food/drink containers; Fish & chip papers; Plastic drink bottle(s); and Aluminium can(s).

NB: For cigarette butt littering, this is a two step enforcement process.

First step: Educate/warning – offender advised this is not acceptable.

Second step: If a person is found depositing cigarette butt litter having already been warned, an infringement fee of $100 will be issued.”

The entire state of Georgia has considered discarding cigarette butts to be littering and has done so for the past 22 years ( )

And then there is this:

Cigarette filters are 100 percent non-biodegradable and made up of a plastic compound called cellulose acetate, which contains toxic chemicals

These toxic chemicals can seep out and pollute everything it surrounds

It can take a single cigarette more than 15 years to disintegrate naturally

1 single cigarette butt can pollute 40 l of drinking water


KingMalefic's avatar

as far as i am aware camel cigs are the only ones with cotton biodegradable filters. so they would just degrade like anything else.

Though i don’t smoke that brand i try and do what kevbo said… but sometimes i just enjoy flicking the butt.. kinda like flicking lit matches… maybe its a pyro issue but i still feel bad when i do it and try not to but… i am a douche… winter spring mix

cak's avatar

There is nothing that I can add – Darwin just pointed out what I was going to add. They are non-biodegradable. Yes, it does anger me and yes – in my city, it is something you can get ticketed for and it is a minimum $100 fine.

augustlan's avatar

Fessing up time. I do this all the time. I feel guilty about it, and do it anyway. In the case of walking around somewhere, I always look for a place to put it out and deposit it, but there isn’t always one available. My car (which I bought used) didn’t come equipped with an ashtray. I really need to figure out some other method for disposal. Don’t kill me now, please.

tennesseejac's avatar

@augustlan wow. I would have never guessed this, you come off as such a mature/ responsible law abiding citizen. well, maybe you can make up some of those lost cool points by starting to use a pocket ash tray

Its not too late to kick the habit (not smoking, just the littering part)

kevbo's avatar

at least we know what the “A” is for ;-)

mcbealer's avatar

Ex-smoker here… I never smoked in my car, so nothing there. Any other time, I would usually strip the butt off or use an ashtray. I do agree it is littering. I think the worse is when you see people have dumped out an entire ashtray out their window… ugh!

Likeradar's avatar

@augustlan My car didn’t come with an ashtray either. I picked one up at Autozone for like $15. It just sits in the cup holder.

You can buy them online too. A quick google search turned up this first:

augustlan's avatar

@all I will do better… I promise :)

@Likeradar Thanks for the link. I’ll definitely look into that!

Aethelwine's avatar

When I smoked and had no means of throwing it away, I would step on it, make sure it was completely out, and put it in my pocket until I could properly dispose of it. I get so angry when I find butts laying around a park or playground. Toddlers can easily pick them up and put them in their mouth when you look away for just a second.

Lightlyseared's avatar

In the UK you can get an on the spot £80 fine if a police officer sees you drop a cigarette butt.

toomuchcoffee911's avatar

It is illegal. My my stepped on one and burnt her foot, once.

Bri_L's avatar

My kids both tried to pick them up at a park.

I love having them flung out of cars, thats neat.

But, I am sure the argument would be made by smokers who want to use everywhere as their cancer-fog containment facility and tell those who don’t to just go somewhere else, we should all just go where they don’t litter.

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