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Hospital Cafe Says Bin the Butts

Published on: 13 Oct, 2018
Updated on: 13 Oct, 2018

Sparky’s Cafe Farnham Road Hospital – Photo Richmond Fellowship

By Will Parsons

Sparky’s Cafe is urging smokers to dispose of their cigarette butts properly and help cut down on toxic pollution.

The cafe, in Farnham Road Hospital, is part of the Richmond Fellowship mental health charity and is a community project to help challenge mental health stigma.

Maria Ruiz, a team manager at the cafe, told The Dragon that the initiative was part of the café’s efforts to improve mental well-being.

She said: “Our values have always been to procure good mental health through good physical health and respect for the environment. I truly believe the connection and good interaction between these three aspects is fundamental for human well-being.

“Based on this our mission is and will be to create awareness in people about the most important aspects for having a good mental health, and respecting the environment is an important part of it.”

An estimated 750,000 tonnes of smoked cigarettes – up to two-thirds of all cigarettes smoked worldwide every year – end up dropped as litter. The butts are made of non-biodegradable plastic and contain the toxins found in tobacco products.

The toxins found in cigarette butts have been found to kill and harm marine life, and may seriously impact human health. They can also amount to over 20 per cent of all litter in cities.

A smoker from Guildford, who did not wish to be named, was spotted smoking on Chapel Street. They said: “I didn’t know cigarette butts were plastic, I thought they were just paper or something that could rot down.

“I’ll definitely always bin my cigarettes now, but I guess sometimes it’s quite hard to find somewhere to put it if there’s no bin around or they don’t have those ashtray things on them.”

Ms Ruiz added: “The best solution to the cigarette butt waste problem is for smokers to quit, whether for reasons of their own health, the health of others, or the health of the environment where more than five trillion cigarette butts are deposited each year.

“Something needs to be done and at Sparky’s cafe Guildford we are worried about it, this is the reason for our campaign.”

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Responses to Hospital Cafe Says Bin the Butts

  1. Geraldine Reply

    October 14, 2018 at 6:56 pm

    I was stunned by just how toxic the butts can be. I am a nonsmoking patient at Farnham Road Hospital, and the smoking ban is clearly not working. It just leads to more surreptitious smuggling of cigarettes and more butts discarded where there are no ashtrays or bins.

    Sparkys and Richmond Fellowship do great work here and this is another example of their pioneering approach.

    The surname has been intentionally withheld from this comment. Ed

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