updated 8/16/2006 1:01:38 PM ET 2006-08-16T17:01:38

As smoking is banned from more and more places, cigarette butts are piling up.

Now, in an effort to win the battle of the butts, dozens of cities are focusing on the litter problem by distributing portable ashtrays that allow smokers to cleanly pocket smoked cigarettes. Cigarette maker Philip Morris is helping fund the nationwide campaign.

Surveys suggest smokers and non-smokers alike don't generally consider cigarette butts to be litter like other objects, even though the filters are made of plastic and are not biodegradable.

Litter experts say cigarettes are, by far, the country's most tossed object, outpacing fast-food wrappers and soft-drink bottles.

The palm-sized ashtrays have a sliding door with a metal compartment that can store several butts.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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