(TORONTO) – Tidiness advocate Sheila White is asking the city’s board of health to consider a policy for dealing with tobacco litter before banning smoking in more public places.
A litter researcher, White says bans push toxic cigarette butt litter problems further into neighbourhoods, streets and parking lots.
“Cigarette butts are the most prolific type of litter. They are hazardous waste, can be recycled and ought to be contained. Anywhere effective bans on smoking have been implemented there has been a companion strategy for dealing with the increase in butt litter,” said White, a communications consultant and founder of the Litter Prevention Program.
Convincing smokers that flicking a cigarette filter is littering is a challenge, but that hasn’t stopped other cities around the world from tackling it, White said.
Manitoba banned smoking on its beaches earlier this year. Enforcement officers will spend a year first educating park users about the issues and warning smokers about the upcoming regimen of fines beginning in 2015.
Smoking bans at hospitals and university campuses in the United States and elsewhere are accompanied by ashtray installations, pocket ashtray distributions, nicotine replacement therapy, signage, education and enforcement of fines.
Chicago is poised to bring a bylaw into force that targets cigarette litter with strictly enforceable set fines and new “permissive towing” powers for city police. New York State Senate has two motions awaiting debate calling on the state health department to explore a deposit-return system for cigarette butts as a litter prevention measure.
And in Paris, last November, eco-friendly mayor Bertrand Delanoë announced a program to install 10,000 street ashtrays and fines for littering cigarette butts, a problem which officials said “exploded” after that city’s ban on smoking in bars and outdoor cafés in 2007.
Media contact: Sheila White, 416-321-0633