On this Earth Day, a new collaboration will target the trash, litter, and harms of tobacco waste in our County. The County of San Luis Obispo Tobacco Control Program (TCP) is joining the Central Coast Clean campaign, expanding the campaign’s focus to address the harms of tobacco waste.

The countywide Central Coast Clean campaign aims to decrease the amount of litter that makes its way into waterways and affects water quality on the Central Coast.  Addressing tobacco waste can go a long way to achieving that goal. A recent report by the Ocean Conservancy shows that in 2020, 22.6% of items collected during California trash cleanups were cigarette butts.

With TCP’s support, the campaign will increase social media messaging on the issue of toxic tobacco waste and encourage quitting the use of tobacco products. The partnership will also place new tobacco waste receptacles at public locations in the cities of Grover Beach and Morro Bay will help reduce tobacco litter. Messaging on the tobacco waste receptacles encourages smokers to dispose of tobacco waste properly and provides a QR link to free tobacco quitting services through Kick It California.

“The City of Grover Beach is committed to capturing trash and litter that pollutes our local waterways and oceans. Tobacco waste should be treated as toxic litter because it leaches chemicals into the soil and contaminates water if not disposed of properly,” said Grover Beach City Manager Matthew Bronson.

Quitting the use of tobacco not only reduces tobacco waste but also helps improve individual and community health.

“Nobody enjoys cigarette butts on our beaches, in our streets, or in our waterways,” said Amy Gilman, Tobacco Control Program. “This campaign helps keep harmful waste out of our water and is a natural complement to our work supporting people who want to stop using tobacco.”

Learn more about the County of San Luis Obispo Tobacco Control Program by visiting www.slocounty.ca.gov/Tobacco. Find free resources on how to quit smoking by visiting Kick It California at https://kickitca.org. Learn more about the Central Coast Clean Campaign by searching the hashtag #CentralCoastClean or following @slostormwater on social media.