The Cigarette Butt Truth

A letter to Camel Productions regarding cigarette butt litter issue.


(Nothing different from the one you learned when you were five) 

By Trisha Prabhu

Naperville, thankfully, is one of the cleanest and safest communities a being could ever hope to live in. But if we look at a general picture, other than tobacco hurting people on the inside and then showing on the outside when they can’t function any more, it is also the No. 1 litter problem in the world, which really breaks my heart. We have talked about the negatives of tobacco from the beginning of our school careers, when we were five, basically when we were young but old enough to know what tobacco was.

Yet, some of the same people who sat through a health class anywhere in this nation, and learned about the evils of cigarettes, are buying a pack right now. And they aren’t going to throw the cigarette butts away. Why not flick it onto the street? It’s not their problem. A fire starts because of it? Eh, whatever! They aren’t affected. But other people that chose to make the right decision of not touching a cigarette are. Because of a school project and a lot of hidden passion for the truth from the real people who are in the business of ruining others’ lives, I wrote a letter to the RJ Reynolds Co., also known more commonly as Camel, focusing more on the litter issue than health, and we’ll just see whether the strong leaders stand up for themselves and write back…..


To:   Camel Cigarettes
        RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company
        401 N. Main StreetWinston-Salem, NC 27101 

Dear Camel Tobacco Production President,

No doubt there has been a time in your life that you’ve been woken up by a shrill alarm that salutes the obviousness of a new day, and that all you have wanted to do is bury your face farther into the softness of your pillow rather than recognize it. Here’s another wake up call, and we’ll just see whether you choose to come out and rise to the occasion. Your product, cigarettes, which is probably your main seller in your business, are everywhere, literally.

I bet you just paused as you read that sentence and thought, you sent me a letter to congratulate me on monopolizing my product? Thanks! But that’s exactly what I don’t mean. Instead of your merely toxic cigarettes ending up in poor, addicted people’s mouths, and then into the garbage, they are being tossed into every nook and cranny of these continents. Every alleyway, every sidewalk, every road, every beach, every single square foot of land is being covered in little cigarette butts. Did I forget to mention the oceans that make up 70 percent of the world? It’s not like those are all clean and perfect either.

It’s actually, if you think about it, a world wide disgusting phenomenon, the fact that the little butt ends of your seemingly “cool” products is the number one litter problem in the entire world. Yes, I can understand how you’d rather stroke your money than spend just a fraction of it to help clean it up, but Earth has some personal hygiene demands including cigarette butt clean ups. Spending part of the 24 percent you take up in US Market Share definitely won’t hurt, and I could see it in the future, if you chose to rise up and do something right. 

This national problem is growing because of the insufficient amount of ashtrays
placed outside offices and such, and new laws that say you can only smoke outside of buildings, thus having your customers flick their butts onto a long-term place we call home, not “Cigarette Butt Dump.”  Funding some money for willing clean up crews or urging your customers to help would definitely make a difference.  

Earth is begging for your aid! 

The people of this world are calling out to you.

The alarm clock has rung; if we don’t do anything about this crisis, your children, (not to mention our) futures might just be crushed like a cigarette butt, and that’s not something you or we should be giving up on. 

I’m sure you’ve read a letter like this before and convinced yourself the people writing it were idiots, but why don’t you think just one more time. Just once. About how the world would appreciate it if you helped. I didn’t write this letter to you for only a grade in Health Class, Camel. I wrote it because I had a spark of hope and faith that you just might see the light.

Trisha N. Prabhu

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