Surfrider Foundation and gyro Raise Awareness to Eliminate Cigarette Litter

SAN FRANCISCO – Cigarette butts are the number one littered item on the planet. To make matters worse, they’re made of plastic that never biodegrades, and they leach toxic chemicals into the environment right down into our very own water supply.

More than four trillion cigarette butts are littered every year, impacting the environment and flowing down into the Earth’s waterways. Used cigarette butts leach chemicals, such as arsenic and nicotine, and heavy metals, including lead, cadmium and chromium, into the water and soil, which impact marine life, habitats and ecosystems.

To combat this issue, the Surfrider Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the coasts, teamed up with gyro San Francisco in an effort to de-normalize the act of littering cigarettes and to get people thinking twice about their behavior.

The advertisement campaign, entitled “Snuffed Out Marine Life,” seeks to raise awareness and open a dialogue about this behavior change through arresting visuals that directly connect cigarette butt litter to the wildlife we care about.

“There’s been a cultural shift that has defined what types of behavior are just not acceptable anymore – like not picking up after your dog or throwing garbage out the car window,” said gyro San Francisco President Drew Meyers. “We hope this awareness effort will help change behavior and make people think twice about flicking their cigarettes, especially for the sake of our planet.”

“Cigarette butts are a huge issue for our ocean and coasts, and typically account for about one third of all litter items collected at Surfrider beach cleanups nationwide,” said Bill Hickman, Southern California Regional Manager with the Surfrider Foundation. “Studies have shown that the substances that leach out of cigarette butts can be toxic to micro-organisms and fish. The Surfrider Foundation network works in local communities around the country to reduce plastic pollution at the source and prevent cigarette butts from impacting our ocean, waves and beaches.”

View the PSA’s, find out more about cigarette butt litter, and get involved at


About Surfrider Foundation

The Surfrider Foundation is a non-profit grassroots organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of our world’s oceans, waves and beaches through a powerful activist network. Founded in 1984 by a handful of visionary surfers in Malibu, California, the Surfrider Foundation now maintains over 500,000 supporters, activists and members, with more than 80 volunteer-led chapters and 60 clubs in the U.S., and more than 400 victories protecting our coasts. Learn more at

About gyro

As the world’s first full-service global creative B2B powerhouse, our mission is to create ideas that are humanly relevant. gyro is Advertising Age’s 2016 B2B Agency of the Year and the BMA’s 2016, 2015 and 2014 Global B2B Agency of the Year. Our 700 creative minds in 16 offices work with top companies, including Aflac, Danone, eBay, Google, HP, John Deere, TD Ameritrade, Teva, USG and Vodafone. gyro is a part of the Dentsu Aegis Network, which is the 2017 MediaPost Holding Company of the Year.