A $3,000 Cigar Butt

Ontario politicians want to kick some butt-as in keeping smokers from tossing their cigarette and cigar butts on city sidewalks or highways.

Bill 28, the Cigarette and Cigar Butt Litter Prevention Act, would have a minimum fine for littering of C$2,000 (about $1,935), with a maximum fine of C$3,000 ($2,900). The law specifically mentions discarded smokes. "Every person who throws, tosses, drops or deposits or causes to be dropped or deposited any glass, nails, tacks or scraps of metal or any rubbish, refuse, waste, cigarette butts, cigarettes, cigar butts, cigars or litter upon, along or adjacent to a highway, except in receptacles provided for the purpose, is guilty of the offence of littering the highway."

The bill has gone through a first reading. It wouldn't be made into law until next year, at the earliest.

Like many items of anti-smoking legislation, this bill is being directed at cigarettes, but cigars would be affected as well. According to an audit of "small litter" in Toronto, nearly 15 percent of the items are cigarette butts. It made no mention of the number of cigar butts.

A New York assemblyman has considered a different way of tackling the problem of butts, proposing a bill to help recycle New York's share of the 176 million pounds of cigarette butts that are tossed out every year in the United States, according to Earth911.com.

The Toronto Star interviewed local smokers, some of whom said they would be happy to comply-so long as there were more ashtrays in which to discard their cigarette or cigar butts.

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