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Kansas project shows extent of cigarette litter

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) -- Smoking is banned in the Kansas Statehouse, but a cleanup project by volunteers shows plenty of people are lighting up outside and littering the grounds with cigarette butts.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports (http://bit.ly/1owCki4 ) a group of volunteers that included high school students collected 650 discarded cigarettes outside the Statehouse in just 15 minutes Wednesday.

The cleanup in Topeka and other Kansas communities was part of a national campaign to illustrate the problem of non-biodegradable cigarette filters left outside buildings, in parks and elsewhere.

In Hutchinson, volunteers picked up more than 2,600 discarded cigarette butts in one hour Tuesday on the grounds of Hutchinson Community College.

Organizers say cigarette butts are dangerous to animals that ingest them, because tobacco is poisonous for some animals and because of the synthetic materials in filters.