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Organization Launches Campaign to Combat Cigarette Litter

STAMFORD, Conn. -- Cigarette butts, along with other cigarette litter such as packaging and lighting materials, represents more than 20 percent of the litter cluttering communities. And the butts, technically known as cellulose acetate litter, are a man-made fiber that looks like cotton thread and takes many years to decompose.

To address the mounting nationwide problem of cigarette litter, Keep America Beautiful, a nonprofit community improvement organization, has created the "Guide to Cigarette Litter Prevention." The guide, which provides tools to launch a cigarette litter reduction initiative, has been produced as a CD-ROM by Keep America Beautiful and its network of approximately 1,000 affiliates after three years of field testing in more than a dozen large and small communities across the nation. Philip Morris USA supported the cigarette litter prevention research and development of the guide.

"The guide provides essential resources in an easy-to-use format for any community that wishes to establish a program," said G. Raymond Empson, president of Keep America Beautiful. "Using the guide, communities across the country can accomplish the impressive results that our affiliates have produced in our field tests." The strategies included in the guide helped to reduce cigarette litter an average of 46 percent in field testing over three years.

"Bakersfield (California) was excited to be one of the three cities chosen for the Test Campaign in 2003," said that city's mayor, Harvey Hall. "The results were very encouraging, with a definite reduction in cigarette litter. We were very pleased that the business and property owners in the test area were able to involve their employees, clients and customers during the campaign."

Karen West, program director of Keep Genesee County Beautiful in Michigan, is one of 28 local affiliates that are using the guide as part of the national rollout of the program. "People need to know that cigarette butts are litter, too," said West, who noted that during a recent cigarette litter scan in her community, surveyors found more than 2,000 cigarette butts in a three-block area.

Keep America Beautiful started developing its Cigarette Litter Prevention Program in 2002 after identifying cigarette litter as the most littered item found in cleanups around the country. Keep America Beautiful tested a multidimensional approach to develop the most effective program that can be easily replicated in communities around the country. To order the "Guide to Cigarette Litter Prevention" CD-ROM, visit

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