Join Earth

Make a

Smoke-Free Beaches

Our streets and beaches are not your ashtray!

Smoke Free Beaches and Piers Campaign Goals:

  • Eliminate cigarette litter throughout our watershed (beaches, streets, parks, mountains, etc.
  • Educate the public that cigarette butts are not biodegradable; they harm our ecosystems, and contain over 165 chemicals (
  • Educate the public that secondhand smoke is one of the leading causes of cancer and contains over 4000 carcinogens. (

Progress of smoke free Beaches and Piers:

California has implemented no smoking policies in restaurants, bars, and some outdoor recreational facilities. Earth Resource Foundation believes that our beaches should be next. The reason behind this is primarily because we are polluting our beaches and secondly, the terrible effects of secondhand smoke.

There are cities that have taken action, and have expanded upon this law and made entire beaches and parks smoke-free, such as Solana Beach which now has smoke-free beaches and parks. Hanauma Bay, Oahu, HI has banned smoking because the cigarette litter was killing sea turtles and other marine wildlife, which Oahu depends on to attract tourist.

Earth Resource Foundation is hosting monthly "Hold on to your Butt" beach cleanups in every coastal city in Orange County to bring awareness and institute change. Please join us in our campaign. See website for upcoming events:

  • The following cities in California have Smokefree Beaches and piers:

>> Huntington Beach
>> Laguna Beach
>> Long Beach
>> Los Angeles
>> Malibu

>> Newport Beach
>> San Clemente
>> Santa Monica
>> Seal Beach
>> Solana Beach

  • The following cities are considering smoking bans in parks and recreational areas:

>> Hermosa Beach (Considering smoke free beaches)
>> Redondo Beach (Considering smoke free beaches)
>> Santa Ana (Considering smoke free parks)

  • The following cities in California have smoking bans in parks and recreational areas:

>> Beverly Hills (no smoking permitted in parks)
>> El Cajon (no smoking permitted in parks and recreational areas)
>> El Monte (no smoking permitted in playgrounds and Tot Lots)
>> La Puente (No smoking permitted in public places)
>> Long Beach (No smoking permitted in playgrounds and Tot Lots)
>> Pasadena (no smoking permitted in parks including Golf Course)
>> San Fernando (no smoking permitted in parks and recreation centers)
>> Santa Cruz (Beach Boardwalk is a non-smoking facility considering beaches)
>> Santa Monica (no smoking permitted in parks)
>> Seal Beach (no smoking permitted on pier)

  • The following cities are considering smoking bans in parks and recreational areas:

>> to be updated shortly

  • A growing number of communities have persuaded their local parks to ban or severely restrict smoking:

>> Bellaire, TX in public parks
>> Eastchester, NY, in some sections of Lake Isle Park
>> Greenburgh, NY, has limited smoking at Anthony J. Veteran Park, its primary recreation area, leaving only two designated smoking sections there.
>> Mesa, AZ, bans smoking in just about every outdoor space where the public congregates
>> Mount Olive, NJ, smoking is forbidden at outdoor recreation areas
>> New York City, NY, smoking is prohibited at children's playgrounds and in public places like work sites, sports arenas, schools and restaurants
>> Putnam County, NY, banned smoking on its public lakeside beach
>> Rye, NY, Kiddyland section of Playland Park banned smoking in all lines for rides at the amusement park
>> Scarsdale, NY, recently adopted a no-smoking policy for all public parks that have play equipment for children and at playing fields and pools as well as in all village-owned vehicles.
>> Sharon, ME, smoking is prohibited on beaches and in public playgrounds
>> Westchester County, NY

The Problems

1. Health Statistics

  • More than 450,000 people in the United States will die this year from a tobacco related disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, secondhand smoke kills more than 50,000 people in the U.S. It also causes serious diseases such as lung cancer, heart disease, and serious respiratory problems in children, including severe asthma attacks and lower respiratory tract infections.
  • 82 percent of Californians do not smoke. More than 4700 non-smoking Californians are killed and tens of thousands more sickened each year by secondhand smoke. Eleven major health problems are caused in nonsmokers by environmental tobacco smoke (secondhand smoke) including respiratory disease, lung and nasal sinus cancer and heart disease. (

2. Litter Statistics

  • In just one day 230,000 cigarette butts were collected from California beaches during the 2000 Coastal Cleanup Day. Cigarette butts were the number one trash item found (
  • Over 4.5 trillion cigarettes are littered worldwide each year. They are the most littered item in the world (

3. Economic Costs

  • Some of the costs are associated with the manpower and resources to pick up litter. Who picks up litter? Employees of parks, schools, hotels, restaurants, and local governments have to pick up litter, as well as volunteers who care about the environment.
  • Other costs are incurred when a cigarette butt starts a fire that destroys a forest, a field, or people's homes.
  • The costs of "lost revenue" are incurred when tourists will not spend their vacation dollars to visit a beach or park that is full of litter and trash.

4. Environmental cost of cigarettes

No butts about it. The environmental costs of tobacco products are more than just smoke. They include the following:

  • Filters and plastic wrap from cigarette packages remain in the environment for long periods of time. Cigarette butts are composed of cellulose acetate, a form of plastic, which can take many years to decompose. Cigarette butts may seem small, but with several trillion butts littered every year, the toxic chemicals add up!
  • Cigarettes contain over 165 chemicals - Some of the chemicals smokers inhale: (
  1. Benzo[a]pyrene: found in coal tar and cigarette smoke and it is one of the most potent cancer causing chemical in the world.
  2. Arsenic: deadly poison that causes diarrhea, cramps, anemia, paralysis and malignant skin tumors. It is used in pesticides.
  3. Acetone: It's one of the active ingredients in nail polish remover.
  4. Lead: Lead poisoning stunts growth, causes vomiting, and causes brain damage.
  5. Formaldehyde: causes cancer, can damage lungs, skin, and digestive systems. Embalmers use it to preserve dead bodies.
  6. Toluene: highly toxic, commonly use as an ingredient in paint thinner.
  7. Butane: highly flammable butane is one of the key components in gasoline.
  8. Cadmium: cause damage to the liver, kidneys and brain, and stays in the body for years.
  9. Ammonia: causes individuals to absorb more nicotine, keeping them hooked on smoking.
  10. Benzene: found in pesticides and gasoline.
  • Plastic pieces have been found in the stomachs of fish, birds, whales, and other marine creatures that mistake them as food, swallowing harmful plastic and toxic chemicals. Ingestion of plastic cigarette filters is a threat to wildlife.
  • Wind and rain often carry cigarette butts into waterways, where the toxic chemicals in the cigarette filters leak out, threatening the quality of the water and the creatures that live in it.

The Solution & what you can do to help?

Join our "Hold on to your Butt" beach cleanup!!! Click here for upcoming events.

Below are our results so far...

Date City Estimated No. of Butts Collected Approx.No. of People Notes
May 31, 2003 Huntington Beach 4,000 50 World No Tobacco Day
October 4, 2003 San Clemente 6,000 35 Same day as Character Counts
November 15, 2003 Newport Beach 10,000 165 Day after Cleaned Beach
February 21, 2004 Laguna Beach 3,000 80 City workers cleaned beach earlier that morning; 3-4 weeks after Surfrider beach clean up
March 20, 2004 Dana Point (Capistrano Beach) 1,000 30
April 17, 2004 Newport Beach 13,000 172 Same day as UCI Earth Day; NHHS Surf Club press conference on April 27, 2004
May 22, 2004 Huntington Beach 3,000 35 Part of World No Tobacco Day
June 19, 2004 Seal Beach 1,500 13
July 17, 2004 San Clemente 1,500 13 Same day as Ocean Festival
  • Date City Estimated No. of Butts Collected Approx.No. of People Notes
    May 31, 2003
    Huntington Beach
    50 World No Tobacco Day
    October 4, 2003 San Clemente 6,000 35 Same day as Character Counts
    Educate community members to be responsible with their cigarette litter.
  • Provide smokers with an easily accessible, reusable means to dispose of their cigarette butts responsibly and safely.
  • Post "no smoking" signs at the beach and make designated smoking areas with ash cans for peoples' cigarette butts
  • Participate in World No Tobacco Day, May 22 ( This yearly event informs the public of the danger of tobacco, and what people can do to claim their right to health and healthy living and to protect future generation. In Orange County, agencies and organizations gather to promote healthy lifestyles along Huntington Beach for "World No Tobacco Day," ( It is a day of celebration of non-smokers and an opportunity to dissuade current smokers (May 22, Huntington Beach Pier Plaza).
  • Set examples for others by not littering.
  • Volunteer to help organize a cleanup.
  • Write letters to your Mayor and City Council to ask for a smoke-free beaches and pier.
  • Set a meeting with your local legislature to discuss the problems of litter and air pollution, which come from cigarettes.

The Circle
ERF's newsletter


"In the end, we will conserve only what we love. We only love what we understand. We only understand what we are taught."
-Babia Dioum Senegalese Ecologist

1706 B Newport Blvd, P.O. Box 12364 Costa Mesa, CA 92627  |  Tel:(949) 645-5163  |  Fax:(949) 645-5173  |  e-mail: