The number of smoking-related fines in the French capital has exploded in recent months. The reason? Throwing cigarette butts onto the streets, which carries with it a 68 Euro fine.
Although the law has existed since 2015, in the past authorities rarely laid down the law. Today, however, authorities are finally cracking down. The numbers speak for themselves: 24,511 tickets were registered in 2017, compared to 1,880 in 2016. In 2018, 10,862 tickets were given in the first four months of the year.
It is important to note that in the French capital, the amount of cigarette butts thrown onto the streets each year represents 350 tons of waste. A single cigarette butt can contaminate up to 5,000 litres of water, and it takes 4-12 years for a cigarette to completely decompose.
Tobacco manufacturers ordered to manage their waste
Brune Poirson from the Ministry of Ecological Transition and Solidarity wants tobacco manufacturers and distributors to take responsibility. In 2017, 55,000 tons of cigarettes were sold in France, and yet the tobacco industry takes no responsibility for managing its waste problem. This goes against the “polluter pays” principle, which the OCDE adopted in 1972.
Brune Poirson is now waiting on the tobacco industry to provide concrete, clear, and effective propositions to help reduce the ecological impact of cigarette waste in France. On June 14, a meeting was held with various actors in the industry. The first proposals should see the light of day in September.
For their part, smokers who have been fined are asking for more cigarette-butt receptacles. Paris’ City Hall has already installed close to 30,000 dedicated receptacles, and has also launched a campaign to encourage citizens to respect the new laws.