About 360 billion cigarette butts are consumed in the U.S. every year and these end up in streets, sidewalks, neighborhoods, waterways, lakes, oceans…everywhere. If cigarette butt waste was just litter that would be bad enough. But it’s not. Scientific studies recently proved cigarette butts are toxic waste. Really toxic waste. The Toxic Butts Project was started to help bring awareness to the toxicity of tobacco waste and to advocate for not only a reduction in this harmful waste entering our environment but to hold the tobacco industry responsible for the damages. Funded by the CA Department of Public Health, a team of experts from San Diego State University have put together a toolkit to help local communities, organizations and others to address this problem of Toxic Butts. The toolkit is scheduled to be released by the State in the Fall of 2012 and Surfrider has been partnering with the team to provide information to help spread the word.
Paula Stigler is the coordinator for the Toxic Butts project at San Diego State University, funded by the CA Department of Public Health. She holds a Master of Science in Public Health with a focus on environmental health and is currently finishing her PhD in the SDSU/UCSD joint doctoral program in Global Health. She has more than 10 years of experience in working with environmental advocates in San Diego and Baja California on water contamination and public health related issues.