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County Tobacco Program Coordinator reminds citizens to pick up cigarette butts

cigarettesBy: Penny McCaslin, Tobacco Program Coordinator –

The Cerro Gordo County Department of Public is recognizing the 45th anniversary of Earth Day by reminding residents to dispose of their cigarette butts properly.

One little cigarette butt here and there amounts to an enormous environmental and public health threat. Did you know at least 1/3 of the more than 300 billion cigarettes smoked annually in the U.S. are tossed into the environment as cigarette butts? The remnant products of cigarettes are toxic, hazardous, and non-biodegradable. This toxic waste can be found on our streets, sidewalks, in our parks, rivers, streams, oceans, and other waterways.

Cigarette butts are the number one littered item along U.S. roadways and on beaches. A single cigarette butt can take 10-15 years before it begins to biodegrade. Even when it begins to break down, it is simply breaking down into particles of plastic, toxic waste. Wildlife and human infants, due to their inability to decipher what is and is not edible, then consume this waste. The result of a child eating a cigarette butt is terrifying for any parent. Children’s symptoms included vomiting, nausea, pale or flushed appearance, and lethargy.

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