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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Tobacco industry responsibility for butts: a Model Tobacco Waste Act.

  • Author(s): Curtis, Clifton
  • Novotny, Thomas E
  • Lee, Kelley
  • Freiberg, Mike
  • McLaughlin, Ian
  • et al.

Cigarette butts and other postconsumer products from tobacco use are the most common waste elements picked up worldwide each year during environmental cleanups. Under the environmental principle of Extended Producer Responsibility, tobacco product manufacturers may be held responsible for collection, transport, processing and safe disposal of tobacco product waste (TPW). Legislation has been applied to other toxic and hazardous postconsumer waste products such as paints, pesticide containers and unused pharmaceuticals, to reduce, prevent and mitigate their environmental impacts. Additional product stewardship (PS) requirements may be necessary for other stakeholders and beneficiaries of tobacco product sales and use, especially suppliers, retailers and consumers, in order to ensure effective TPW reduction. This report describes how a Model Tobacco Waste Act may be adopted by national and subnational jurisdictions to address the environmental impacts of TPW. Such a law will also reduce tobacco use and its health consequences by raising attention to the environmental hazards of TPW, increasing the price of tobacco products, and reducing the number of tobacco product retailers.

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