ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOX) — With Earth Day approaching, a public health nonprofit groups is trying to call attention to a huge litter problem — Cigarette butts.

The nonprofit group Legacy crunched the numbers and found 10.9 billion cigarettes were bought in Missouri last year, 11.6 billion in Illinois, and smokers are still tossing those butts onto highways, streets, parks and waterways.

Legacy CEO Dr. Cheryl Healton says lawmakers don’t need to make more litter laws they just need to be enforced.

“I mean really, really start ticketing people for throwing cigarettes out their car windows, for throwing them out on the streets, for throwing them down at the beach.”

Healton says she wants to make the act of just tossing cigarettes anywhere “socially unacceptable.”

Healton says most Americans believe smokers and the tobacco companies should foot the bill for cleaning up all the cigarette butts, by paying more for every pack of cigarettes they buy.

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