Smoke & Vape Free Beach

Why it Matters

It is crucial to refrain from smoking on the beach due to the significant environmental impacts it can have on beach ecology. Not to mention it is now unlawful to smoke or vape on Tybee Island's beaches and crossovers.

Cigarette butts, which are the most commonly littered item worldwide, are often carelessly discarded on beaches. These small, seemingly insignificant items contain non-biodegradable filters made of cellulose acetate, which can take up to 10 years to decompose. As a result, they accumulate in the sand and pose a severe threat to marine life. Studies have shown that cigarette butts can release harmful toxins and chemicals into the water, including nicotine, heavy metals, and plastic microfibers, which can be ingested by marine organisms. Moreover, the presence of discarded cigarette butts can deter nesting sea turtles and shorebirds, as they might mistake them for food or encounter difficulties while digging their nests. By not smoking or vaping on the beach, we can contribute to the preservation of beach ecosystems and ensure a healthier environment for both marine life and visitors.

The Threat

The threat of smoking and vaping on beaches poses significant risks to both the environment and public health. Cigarette butts and vaping devices are among the most common forms of litter found on beaches, and their improper disposal leads to pollution of the surrounding ecosystem. The toxic chemicals present in cigarette smoke and e-cigarette aerosols can harm marine life, contaminate water sources, and degrade the overall quality of the beach environment. Moreover, secondhand smoke and aerosols from vaping can negatively impact beachgoers' respiratory systems, especially children and individuals with pre-existing conditions. Efforts to raise awareness about the harmful effects of smoking and vaping on beaches and the importance of responsible disposal are crucial to safeguarding the well-being of both beach ecosystems and beach visitors.

What Tybee Island is Doing

Tybee Island has taken significant steps to create a smoke and vape free beach. As of June 2022, Tybee Island implemented a complete ban on smoking, vaping, and the use of tobacco or related products on any of its beaches. This strict prohibition extends not only to the sandy shores but also includes the ocean itself and all crosswalks leading to the beach, as well as the iconic pier. It is now unlawful for any individual to engage in smoking, vaping, or tobacco use in these designated areas. This initiative ensures that both residents and visitors can enjoy a clean and healthy environment while appreciating the natural beauty of Tybee Island.

Upcycled T-Shirt Project

In support of the No Smoking campaign, we've teamed up with Fight Dirty Tybee to amplify the message against smoking by offering upcycled T-shirts. These shirts showcase a stunning design advocating for a smoke-free beach experience. Every purchase contributes to the mission of Tybee Clean Beach Volunteers in maintaining a trash-free coastline. The T-shirt's design was crafted by Adriana Garcia, a character designer, illustrator, and storyboard artist with over a decade of experience in the animation industry. The shirts are printed by Elate Apparel, a small business located in Savannah.

The T-shirts are available for sale at the Tybee Island Farmers' & Artisans' Market. Directly behind the Tybee Island Lighthouse. Look for the Fight Dirty Tybee booth.

TIMA T-Shirt Design Contest

Open Invitation:

We are excited to extend an open invitation to all K-8th grade students attending Tybee Island Maritime Academy (TIMA) to participate in our T-Shirt Design Contest. We encourage every student to showcase their creativity and contribute to promoting a healthy and smoke-free environment on Tybee Island's beautiful beaches.

Submission Guidelines:

  • Designs should prominently convey the message, “No Smoking or Vaping on Tybee Island's beaches.”
  • Artwork must be original and created by the submitting student.
  • Artwork must only use 1-2 colors, not including black
  • Design size: Minimum 2” x 2” Maximum: 12” x 12”
  • Designs can be created with any medium, however the final product will need to be submitted in a digital format, JPEG or PNG.
  • Submissions should be emailed to
  • Submissions should be titled: Lastname_Firstname_No_Smoking

TIP: Use eye-catching visuals to engage the audience.

Submission Deadline: May 29th, 2024

Judging Period:  May 30th- June 14th , 2024

Winners Announced:  June 16th, 2024

First Place: $300

Second Place: $200

Third Place: $100

Winning designs will not only receive monetary prizes but will also be featured on official campaign materials to spread awareness across Tybee Island. The top three designs will be printed on upcycled T-shirts and sold by Tybee Beach Clean Volunteers to further promote the message of a smoke-free and litter-free beach.


Pieces of other tobacco-related products and packaging, make up nearly 20% of all U.S. litter.
beach (1)


Cigarette butts were cleaned up on beaches and waterways in 2021, globally.
Gloves and Butts


E-cigarettes were found littered in U.S. roadways and waterways in 2020.
Bunch of Butts
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