Vaping News

The Butt Of The Problem

An unspoken about benefit of vaping is the reduction in toxic waste of millions of cigarette butts.

Share on:
Eleven tonnes of cigarette butts are discarded across England every single day, enough to fill seven Olympic-sized swimming pools each year, according to ASH UK. Amelia Howard and Adam Houston believe this aspect of smokers switching to vaping should be factored into the debate.

According to the ASH UK Ready Reckoner, smokers in England get through 75 million daily cigarettes. Almost 90% of these are filtered, which results in 11 tonnes of cigarette butts being discarded across England daily.

This represents over four thousand tonnes of waste annually, of which nearly two thousand tonnes are discarded as street litter that must be collected by the local government. ASH UK point out that doesn’t include the additional waste from cigarette packaging and other smoking-related litter.

The Tobacco Products Directive has increased the volume of waste products vapers dispose of, but this could be reversed with the application of common sense – and is something the UK Government is seeking to address.

Charles Bloom, managing director of, told the Halifax Courier: “Cigarette waste is a huge problem. Today, consumers are more conscious of waste than ever before. Now, people think twice before purchasing a plastic bottle or disposable coffee cup, even a straw, and the very same mentality should be applied to cigarette butts.”

“Of course, not only is the filter component damaging to the environment, but the nicotine, formaldehyde, arsenic, ammonia and other chemicals found in cigarettes are damaging too. Damaging to our wildlife, dangerous to our children and harmful to society; we have a responsibility to recognise this is a problem too big to ignore.”

Canadians Amelia Howard and Adam Houston say: “The debate needs to expand to take into account how the environment stands to benefit from the shift away from traditional cigarettes.”

“Cigarette butts are the world’s single most common item of litter, according to a 2017 report by the World Health Organization. They account for 30 to 40 percent of all items collected in annual clean-ups on coasts and in urban areas.”

“Encouraging smokers of combustible cigarettes to switch to noncombustible alternatives that remove both carcinogenic smoke and cigarette butts from the environment is a win-win, reducing harm not only to the smokers themselves but to the environment as well.”

Houston and Howard’s full article “The rise of e-cigarettes could drastically reduce an age-old environmental scourge: millions of discarded butts. Let’s factor it into the debate” is linked to in the resources below.



Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
View Articles

Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

Join the discussion


Parliament Fears Two

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs faced questions from a Conservative MP and, oddly, a member of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Vaping News

Harm Reduction For The Rich

The United Kingdom risks becoming a harm reduction country only for the wealthy, according to Michael Landl of the World Vapers’ Alliance

Vaping News

Sacrificing Health For 2p Cut

Tory Government alienates vaping voters with its mission to cut tax by an unaffordable 2p to attract voters by placing a tax on vape products in the forthcoming budget

Politics & Campaigns


Andrea Leadsom has been quizzed by Rupa Huq and Derek Thomas about the promotion of vaping and support to those who want to quit