Cigarette butts are toxic waste

At the end of each cigarette is a filter. Filters are designed to remove toxins from tobacco while the cigarette is smoked, so a used filter can contain up to 165 chemicals. Sixty of these are chemicals known to cause cancer, such as arsenic, formaldehyde, chromium and lead.

Cigarette Butt Chemicals

The chemicals from cigarette butts leach into water and sand - a big concern for the partners of "BUTT-FREE Beach". Many aquatic organisms like salamanders and frogs breathe through their skin and are highly sensitive to chemicals like those found in cigarette butts.

Cigarettes buried in the sand can be picked up — and ingested — by children playing on the beach. And watch your bare feet! Freshly tossed butts can burn you if you happen to step on the fresh embers.

Butt..what can I do?

Thanks for caring! Your beaches from Wasaga Beach to the world, need to be cigarette BUTT-FREE. Here are some ways you can help beaches:

Thank you to these references and sources
  • Alexander, Karen. 2015 Butt Free Beach (Program backgrounder). Lake Huron Centre for Coastal Conservation
  • Bejtic, Narcis. Environmental Network’s Application for the Great Lakes Guardian Fund 2017. Environment Network
  • Booth, David J. and Gribben, Paul and Parkinson, Kerryn. Impact of cigarette butt leachate on tidepool snails . Marine Pollution Bulletin 95 (2015) 362–364. Volume 95, Issue 1, 15 June 2015, Pages 362–364. Retrieved from ScienceDirect at
  • Environmental Defence Butt Free sign. “Keep your butts off the beach.”
  • Lee, Wenjau and Lee, Chin Chun. Developmental toxicity of cigarette butts – An underdeveloped issue. Ecotoxicology andEnvironmentalSafety113(2015)362–368. Volume 113, March 2015, Pages 362-368. Retrieved from ScienceDirect at
  • Novotny, Thomas E. and Lum, Kristen and Smith, Elizabeth and Wang, Vivian and Barnes, Richard. Cigarettes Butts and the Case for an Environmental Policy on Hazardous Cigarette Waste. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health ISSN 1660-4601. Retrieved from
  • Slaughter, Elli and Gersberg, Richard M and Watanabe, Kayo and Rudolph, John and Stransky, Chris and Novotny, Thoma E. Toxicity of cigarette butts, and their chemical components, to marine and freshwaterfish. Source: Tobacco Control, Vol. 20, Supplement 1: The Environmental Burden of CigaretteButts (May 2011), pp. i25-i29. Published by: BMJ. Retrieved from
  • The Tourism Company in association with IBI Group. Wasaga Beach Tourism Strategy. November 2017.
  • 2017 partners

    Brian Nabuurs. Making a difference!

    Brian Nabuurs

    Brian has volunteered dozens of hours to reduce litter on Wasaga Beach. Thanks Brian for your inspiring volunteerism to help our communities and the environment! Join Brian in helping to make beaches BUTT-FREE!

    "This has been a very positive experience from the very beginning. My inspiration originally came from Karen Alexander at LHCC (Lake Huron Centre for Coastal Conservation). I thought it truly needed to be in Wasaga. I felt that if we wanted more people to take part in the initiative, it needed to be on a grander stage. Wasaga Beach is the perfect spring board to bring national attention to the issue and develop a template for this initiative for each community to duplicate."