No buts about it: Prof argues tobacco companies must deal with discarded butts

VANCOUVER -- A British Columbia professor is urging tobacco companies take responsibility for discarded cigarette butts, which a new study calls one of the most common waste products in the world.

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Prof. Kelley Lee of Simon Fraser University argues that a new regulatory approach is long overdue for what she considers an industry-created problem.

Lee wrote the paper in collaboration with the Washington, D.C.-based Cigarette Butt Pollution Project and says up to five trillion cigarette butts are tossed every year worldwide.

The study found two-thirds of butts from smoked cigarettes become litter, are buried in landfills or poured down storm drains.

Lee says the dumping leads to costly cleanup and sometimes emergency response, such as more than 35 grass fires from strewn butts over just one week last summer in Vancouver.

She believes the tobacco industry should be legally responsible for safe disposal of the butts, similar to other industries that produce hazardous consumer goods including paint and fluorescent light bulbs.



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