Communities Reduce Cigarette Litter by 46%

National nonprofit Keep America Beautiful announced that its 2008 Cigarette Litter Prevention Program resulted in a 46 percent average reduction of cigarette litter in communities participating in the program. The nation's largest program aimed at combating cigarette litter is in its sixth year, and this year has been implemented in 186 locations across the country.

"As we continue to see significant reductions in cigarette butt litter through this program, we hope that more and more Americans understand that cigarette butts dropped on the ground are indeed litter, and that properly disposing of them can make a very large difference in the cleanliness of our country," said Matthew McKenna, president of Keep America Beautiful. "Our goal is to expand the Cigarette Litter Prevention Program to every U.S. community, creating a positive impact on our environment."

Cigarette butts are the most-littered item in America, representing nearly 30 percent of all items collected in clean-up initiatives. In response to this issue, Keep America Beautiful has field-tested and expanded the Cigarette Litter Prevention Program for the last six years with support from Philip Morris USA, an Altria company.

Research shows that individuals who would never litter items such as beverage cans, or paper packaging may not consider tossing cigarette butts on the ground "littering." Keep America Beautiful has found that cigarette butt litter occurs most often at transition points -- areas where a person must stop smoking before proceeding into another area. These include bus stops, entrances to stores and public buildings, and the sidewalk areas outside of bars and restaurants, among others.

The Keep America Beautiful Cigarette Litter Prevention Program addresses the issue by integrating four proven approaches: supporting enforcement of litter laws that include cigarette litter; raising awareness about the issue using public service messages; placing ash receptacles at transition points such as entrances to public buildings; and distributing pocket ashtrays to adult smokers.

The "Guide to Cigarette Litter Prevention" can be found online at www.PreventCigaretteLitter.org.

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