Butthead, n.: someone who throws their cigarette butts anywhere. This seemingly harmless gesture may actually cause fires and is a source of pollution. 

Cigarette butts that are put out in flower pots or flower beds may start fires. Potting soil, mulch or similar materials are made up of sod, peat moss, or wood chips, all of which are flammable and may also contain chemical fertilizers. When any of these components come in contact with a heat source, they may catch fire.

What’s more, this can be particularly dangerous as it can sometimes take up to 4 or 5 hours between the time when a cigarette butt was discarded and the appearance of the first flames. 

In 2020, flower pot or patio fires have caused more than 2 million dollars in damages, and have made up over 245 of all fires in Montréal. In the context of the current pandemic, residents tend to use their balconies or patios more, which requires that they exercise particular caution in this regard.

Should you need to put out a cigarette butt outdoors, the use of an ashtray that can shelter its contents from the elements, such as wind, is highly recommended. Inside your home, you can use a deep tin can filled with damp sand that is placed on a fireproof surface. If you are traveling, you may use one of the city’s 800 public ashtrays, or a portable ashtray, a variety of which is available for purchase. Opt for the safest model.

Cigarette butts and pollution 

In addition to causing fires, butts that are discarded in flower pots and flower beds are a source of pollution. A single cigarette butt, small as it may be, is in part made of plastic and contains up to 7,000 chemicals. When it is thrown on the grownd, it will take up to 10 year sto decompose, leaving its mark on the environment during all those years. 

Let’s get the word out and reduce pollution..