STAMFORD, Conn. (April 4, 2017) – Keep America Beautiful, the national nonprofit that envisions a country in which every community is a clean, green and beautiful place to live, today announced an average 60 percent reduction in cigarette litter in communities that implemented its Cigarette Litter Prevention Program in 2016, a 10 percent increase over the 2015 program results. The Cigarette Litter Prevention Program, now it its 15th year, is the nation’s largest program aimed at reducing cigarette litter.

Keep America Beautiful also announced that new grants, totaling $297,500, will be distributed to 37 organizations through the 2017 Cigarette Litter Prevention Program. Keep America Beautiful affiliates, local government, business improvement districts, downtown associations, parks and recreation area departments, and other organizations dedicated to the fight to end littering and beautify America’s communities are receiving grants. Since the establishment of the national initiative, communities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Canada have implemented the Cigarette Litter Prevention Program to reduce cigarette litter.

“We are increasingly optimistic about ending cigarette butt litter in America,” said Keep America Beautiful COO Becky Lyons. “Keep America Beautiful and our Cigarette Litter Prevention Program partners are dedicated to educating consumers on the hazards of litter and providing the tools to change their behavior. Recent cigarette litter reduction numbers show we are moving in the right direction towards making the littering of cigarette butts – and littering in general – socially unacceptable in our country.”

Since its establishment, the Cigarette Litter Prevention Program has consistently cut cigarette butt litter by approximately half based on local measurements taken in the first four months to six months after program implementation. Survey results also demonstrate that as communities continue to implement and monitor the program those reductions are sustained or even increased over time. Keep America Beautiful has distributed nearly $3 million in grant funding since 2006 to support local implementation of the program in more than 1,700 communities nationwide.

Last year, grants provided by Keep America Beautiful through the Cigarette Litter Prevention Program funded implementations across the country in a variety of settings including downtowns, roadways, beaches, parks, marinas, colleges/universities, and at tourist and special event locations.

Tobacco products, consisting mainly of cigarette butts, are the most littered item in America, representing nearly 38 percent of all items littered, according to “Litter in America,” Keep America Beautiful’s landmark study of litter and littering behavior.

Research has shown that even self-reported “non-litterers” often don’t consider tossing cigarette butts on the ground to be “littering.”  Keep America Beautiful has found that cigarette butt litter occurs most often at transition points – areas where a person must stop smoking before proceeding into another area. These include bus stops, entrances to stores and public buildings, and the sidewalk areas outside of bars and restaurants, among others.

To address cigarette butt litter, Keep America Beautiful’s Cigarette Litter Prevention Program advocates that communities integrate four proven approaches:

  • Encourage enforcement of litter laws, including cigarette litter;
  • Raise awareness about the issue using public service messages;
  • Place ash receptacles at transition points such as entrances to public buildings; and
  • Distribute pocket or portable ashtrays to adult smokers.

The “Guide to Cigarette Litter Prevention” provides information about starting and maintaining a Cigarette Litter Prevention Program in your community, and can be found online at View the Cigarette Litter Prevention Program PSA video on Keep America Beautiful’s YouTube channel.

The Cigarette Litter Prevention Program is supported by funding from Philip Morris USA, an Altria company; RAI Services Company; and the Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company.

About Keep America Beautiful
At Keep America Beautiful, we want to ensure that beauty is our lasting signature. A leading national nonprofit, Keep America Beautiful inspires and educates people to take action every day to improve and beautify their community environment. We envision a country in which every community is a clean, green, and beautiful place to live. Established in 1953, Keep America Beautiful provides the expertise, programs and resources to help people End Littering, Improve Recycling, and Beautify America’s Communities. The organization is driven by the work and passion of more than 620 state and community-based Keep America Beautiful affiliates, millions of volunteers, and the support of corporate partners, municipalities, elected officials, and individuals. To donate or take action, visit Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, like us on Facebook, or view us on YouTube.


Recipients of 2017 Cigarette Litter Prevention Program Grants
Asheville Downtown Association (NC)Keep Ohio Beautiful (OH)
Butts to Watts (CA)Keep Oklahoma City Beautiful (OK)
Capitol Hill Business Improvement District (DC)Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful (PA)
City of Lakeland (TN)Keep Pinellas Beautiful (FL)
City of Rock Hill/Rock Hill Clean & Green (SC)Keep Plano Beautiful (TX)
Crouse Marshall Business Improvement District (NY)Keep Sarasota County Beautiful (FL)
Dearborn County Solid Waste Management District (IN)Keep Southeast Ohio Beautiful (OH)
Downtown Akron Partnership Inc. (OH)Keep Southwest Virginia Beautiful (VA)
Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. (MI)Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful (FL)
Gloucester Clean City Commission (MA)Keep Tennessee Beautiful (TN)
Granville County Government (NC)Keep the Reservoir Beautiful (MS)
I Love a Clean San Diego (CA)Keep Tyler Beautiful (TX)
Keep Charleston Beautiful (SC)Keep Virginia Beautiful (VA)
Keep Dorchester County Beautiful (SC)Loggerhead Marinelife Center (FL)
Keep Fremont Beautiful (NE)Mercyhurst University (PA)
Keep Golden Isles Beautiful (GA)Rural Action, Keep Southeast Ohio Beautiful (OH)
Keep Keith County Beautiful (NE)Surfrider Foundation, San Francisco Chapter (CA)
Keep Lexington-Fayette Beautiful (KY)Surfrider Foundation, Virginia Beach Chapter (VA)
Keep Nassau Beautiful, Inc (FL)