Tobacco product waste: typing cigarette butts collected in different areas at Sapienza University of Rome, Italy
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Department of Public Health and Infectious Diseases, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy
Publication date: 2023-10-08
Corresponding author
Martina Antinozzi   

Department of Public Health and Infectious Diseases, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy
Tob. Prev. Cessation 2023;9(Supplement 2):A49
Tobacco smoking is the first avoidable cause of death in the world. In Italy 74.4% of smokers started smoking between the age of 15 and 20, with a mean age of 17.7 for men and 19.4 for women (ISS-DOXA 2023). Italy is working on developing a smoke-free campus network and the Tobaccology Unit (UNITAB) at Sapienza University of Rome has been specifically working towards this goal lately. In particular, every year UNITAB creates youth-targeted campaigns for multiple occasions throughout the year, to raise awareness on the damages that tobacco products cause on people’s health and on the environment.

In October 2022 the UNITAB team collected tobacco waste smoked on campus, to type the different kinds of cigarette butts present in different areas of the campus.

We identified three areas to sample next to scientific, humanistic and convivial places. From 24th to 27th of October 2022, all kinds of cigarette butts - traditional cigarettes, heated-tobacco products (HTPs), roll-your-own (RYO) - were discreetly collected in the afternoon, when students’ attendance is low, so that our presence interfered as little as possible with their behaviors.

3394 pieces of cigarette butts from different origins were collected: 1262 (37.2%) coming from RYOs, 1246 (36.7%) from HTPs and 886 (26.1%) from traditional cigarettes. In addition to “legal tobacco products” we found 58 pieces of butts coming from weed smoking.

Our results show that HTPs' use among young people seems to have exceeded traditional cigarettes. However, we should consider that these products are often smoked together with traditional ones, transforming smokers into dual users. This evidence and the lack of clear and reliable data on HTPs’ health impact, has to be considered for further investigation, in order to protect young generations from the tobacco-related health risks.

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.
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