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Communities Report Prolonged Success In Reducing Cigarette Butt Litter

-- National Program Continues to Reduce Cigarette Litter by More than Half --

STAMFORD, Conn., Feb. 7, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Keep America Beautiful (KAB) reports an average 55 percent reduction of cigarette litter in the communities implementing KAB's Cigarette Litter Prevention Program (CLPP) during 2012. In 2012, the program's 10 th year, there were 195 grant-supported implementations across the country in a variety of places including downtowns, roadways, beaches, parks, marinas, colleges/universities, tourist spots, and at special events.

Over the past seven years, the CLPP has consistently cut cigarette butt litter by half based on local measurements taken in the first four months to six months after a program implementation.  Survey results also showed that as communities continue to monitor the program those reductions are sustained or even increased over time. For example, more than 100 communities that started programs in 2011 achieved an average reduction of 48 percent that year, and increased that reduction by an additional 17 percent when measured again in 2012.

"Cigarette litter may still be a significant issue throughout the country, but our Cigarette Litter Prevention Program is making a difference in communities where the program is being implemented," said Matthew M. McKenna, president and CEO of Keep America Beautiful. "Through consistent and persistent public education in combination with access to receptacles, we can lessen the environmental harm cigarette litter places on our landscapes and waterways."

Tobacco products, consisting mainly of cigarette butts, are the most littered item in America, representing nearly 38 percent of all items, according to "Litter in America," KAB's landmark 2009 study of litter and littering behavior. In response to this issue, KAB developed the CLPP with funding from Philip Morris USA, an Altria company.  Since 2010, the program has received additional support from RAI Services Company.  Since its inception, the program has been implemented in 1,263 U.S. communities.

"We studied 12 sites over an 11-week period and realized a 68 percent reduction in cigarette litter at sites where we had public education, signage and ash receptacles as compared with control sites where we didn't have those CLPP program components," said Adam Roberts, executive director of KAB affiliate Hot Springs/Garland County Beautification Commission in Hot Springs, Ark.  

"Ground crews and staff at every site where interventions took place commented about the reductions in cigarette litter and – as important – litter in general," added Roberts, who noted a 33 percent decrease in the amount of general litter at those sites.

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