Cigarettes are still dangerous even when there is no smoke - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

4/22/10

Cigarettes are still dangerous even when there is no smoke

By Karin McCay| email

Edited by Kristin Beerman | email 

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) – For years, we've heard about the health risks linked to secondhand smoke, but here's a new concern.  Researchers believe now that cigarettes can still be dangerous even when there is no smoke.  All those cigarette butts that are tossed out of car windows, flicked onto sidewalks and stuffed into the sand are likely the most common litter in the world.  Now, a non-profit called the American Legacy Foundation says cigarette butts are filled with toxins, including nicotine and tar.

"It degrades into little fluffy pieces of toxins. Biodegrading something that's composed of toxins really just helps introduce the toxins more widely into the environment," said Dr. Cheryl Healton, with the American Legacy Foundation.

Dr. Healton cites an earlier study at San Diego State in which researchers soaked one cigarette butt in about a gallon of water for 24 hours, then added minnows to the tank.  Half the fish were dead in a day or two and experts fear the cost to the environment may still be smoldering in public ashtrays.  If you're trying to quit smoking, you may want to check out this site becomeanex.org.  It helps you customize your own plan to quit smoking.

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