Cigarette butts are the most common form of litter. When you open a cigarette butt, it looks a lot like a cotton ball. But it’s actually made of plastic. And that plastic is full of the highly deadly toxins that are in cigarettes. Those toxins leach into the soil and water.
Cigarette butts are also often eaten by animals and sometimes even by small children.
Cigarette butts that are still lit when they’re tossed have caused fires, some have even burned down homes or caused huge wildfires.
The butts are also expensive to clean up. In 2000, Penn State said they estimate that they’re spending $150,000 a week paying people to pick up cigarette litter.
The good news is that Illinois cracking down on cigarette butt litter. First time offenders who are caught tossing their butts on the ground can be charged with a class B misdemeanor and fined $1,500. Second time offenders can be charged with a class A. Third time offenders can spend a year in jail and pay a fine of up to $25,000.