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.


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