Big Tobacco pretends to care about protecting people and the planet – when all they really care about is profit.49 Make a difference by voicing your outrage.
The Little Big Lie
Big Tobacco’s cigarette butt lies threaten our health – and our planet – with microplastics4
Big Tobacco has known all along that cigarette filters don’t make smoking safer.12 Cigarette butts are made of microplastic fibers and filter practically nothing.3 Big Tobacco’s filters scam puts us all at risk, even if we don’t smoke. Microplastics from cigarette waste are contaminating our soil, food, and water around the world and right here in California.56 Research suggests that when they wind up inside of us, microplastics are linked to intestinal damage, infertility, and DNA mutations.60561
Big Tobacco is making a global plastic crisis worse.8 Let’s hold them accountable for their lies.
Big Tobacco’s lie about filters may be the deadliest scam of all.56
Big Tobacco never lets truth get in the way of profit, and their lies about cigarette filters may be the deadliest ever.19 The industry even invested time and money to create filters that change color to trick people into believing they could protect their lungs from dangerous particles.1019 It was a total scam because the so-called filters filter practically nothing.13
Big Tobacco’s deliberate lie has already sickened and killed countless people.1 Now, we’re all at risk because microplastic cigarette butts create a particularly dangerous type of tobacco pollution.1
Microplastic butts put us all at risk.
Butts are made of thousands of tiny plastic fibers that are too small to clean up – and they could be everywhere.4 No surprise since each year Big Tobacco cranks out a staggering 6 trillion cigarettes with so-called “filters.”12 How does plastic in a cigarette butt biodegrade? That’s the problem: It doesn’t.13 It’s also how the tobacco industry became a top contributor to the global plastics crisis.8
#1 most discarded item on California beaches and waterways.24
#1 most littered item in the U.S.24
On California beaches, there are 9x more cigarette butts than plastic straws.24
#1 most discarded item on California beaches and waterways.24
#1 most littered item in the U.S.24
On California beaches, there are 9x more cigarette butts than plastic straws.24
[Cigarette] filters are the deadliest fraud in the history of human civilization. They are put on cigarettes to save on the cost of tobacco and to fool people … In the U.S., 400,000 people a year die from cigarettes – and those cigarettes almost all have “filters.”
Tobacco waste isn’t any different than a lot of issues in our community, where the burden lies on low-income communities, communities of Black and Brown people, who have historically always borne the brunt of toxic exposure.
Big Tobacco created filters to trick people into buying a “safer cigarette,” a deception designed to protect profits, not people.1019
Scam #1: Big Tobacco tricks customers with useless filters.1019
Scam #2: Big Tobacco’s color-changing filters mislead customers.68
Big Tobacco always knew their filters didn’t make cigarettes safer.12 Then, they discovered filters actually gave cigarettes a milder taste, making them seem “healthier” and allowing people to inhale more deeply.13 The tobacco industry seized the chance to hook new customers and invested more time, money, and resources to double down on their already dangerous “safer cigarette” scam.3334
In the 1950s, a chemist from R.J. Reynolds named Claude Teague developed the “Teague Filter” that turned filters from white to brown.29 The change in color fooled people into believing the butts protected their lungs from the toxic chemicals in cigarettes.2
Truth is, no matter what color they turn, “filters” filter practically nothing3 and have even been linked to a specific type of lung cancer.33536
Scam #3: Greenwashing: Big Tobacco denied their tobacco pollution harmed the environment.13
Scam #4: Big Tobacco dodges blame for toxic cigarette waste.
A pack of dangerous lies
It’s scary to think that microplastics from cigarette butts could be making you or your loved ones sick. Here are some of the risks we all face because Big Tobacco spins dangerous lies.
Microplastics are contaminating our food and water.
Microplastics could be inside of us all.
Tobacco pollution is a form of racial injustice.
Cigarette pollution is toxic, and lower-income neighborhoods and communities of color are especially at risk of health problems related to tobacco waste.12572 That’s because, as Big Tobacco relentlessly targets these communities, unacceptably high levels of nicotine, benzene, and heavy metals accumulate in the environment and put everyone at risk.5455565725
It may come as a surprise that Americans ingest an estimated hundreds of thousands of microplastic particles a year. According to recent studies, microplastics have been found in human lungs, placenta, and blood; they've been linked to fertility issues, intestinal damage, and even mutations in DNA.
Let’s hold them accountable
Express your outrage about the damage caused by the deceitful tobacco industry. You can make a difference by raising your voice.
In the news
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