Small Butts, Big Problem Takes Aim at Tobacco Industry and Litter

Written by admin, April 22, 2016

April 22, 2016 – New Health Promotion Campaign to Launch April 23

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A youth-led initiative from Peterborough Public Health called “Small Butts, Big Problem” kicks off on Earth Day today in the hopes of mobilizing the community around the contentious issue of cigarette butt littering.

“The Kawarthas are renowned for having some of the most beautiful and natural environments around, but the pollution created by the tobacco industry poses real concerns for wildlife,” said Adam Barnfather, one of Public Health’s Peer Leaders who designed the campaign.  “Not only do cigarette butts destroy the beauty of our urban and rural environments, they contain over 4,000 chemicals, 43 of which are known carcinogens.”

Barnfather noted these chemicals eventually make their way into the ecosystem as part of the 8,000 tons of cigarette butts that Canadians litter every year. These chemicals have been shown to harm the reproductive systems of fish, and even be lethal to aquatic wildlife under certain conditions.

The Peer Leaders have partnered with Peterborough GreenUp, the Peterborough DBIA, and the City of Peterborough to tackle this issue on several fronts. To kick things off, they are hosting a series of volunteer butt pickups on Saturday, April 23 targeting 3 different areas downtown.  Everyone is invited to participate in cleaning up the downtown by meeting them at the corner of George and Simcoe streets on April 23 at 10 a.m., 12 noon, and 2 p.m.

The group plans to raise awareness and educate the community by participating in various events such as the National Youth Week, Farmer’s Markets, Peterborough Children’s Water Festival, Peterborough Folk Festival, and Peterborough Pulse among others. They will also bring displays and activities to locations throughout the city and county, including Camp Kawartha, Warsaw Caves, downtown bus terminal, and local beaches.

Screen Shot 04-22-16 at 11.21 AM“We hope that people will realize that a small butt contributes to a very big problem and choose to discard their cigarette butt safely,” said Miranda Doris, another PCCHU Peer Leader involved in the campaign. Everyone is encouraged to follow the campaign’s official Twitter page @SBBP_Ptbo to find out where it will be next.


For further information, please contact:
Katherine Morin
Youth Development Worker
705-743-1000, ext. 321