New Law Cracks Down on Careless Smokers

New Law Cracks Down on Careless Smokers

Cigarette butts have been added to the Illinois’ Liter Control Act. Smokers who don't properly dispose of their cigarette could face up to a $1,500 dollar fine.

The days of smoking and carelessly throwing cigarettes on the ground or out the car window will soon be a thing of the past.

That’s because Governor Quinn signed a new law fining smokers up to $1,500 dollars for their first offense.

"We’ve been trying to educate and inform and inspire people to do the right thing. And a lot of times to balance that out you need the right enforcement to make sure littering is either hampered or reduced in the future,” said Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful Director Lori Gummow. 

According to KNIB cigarette butts are the number one littered item.

"The problem is its so small people don't think it's significant, but when you do add it up cumulatively it does add up to a lot. What people also don't realize is that the butt of the cigarette does not decompose. It does not go away," explained Gummow.

Also not going away are cigarette receptacles. If business owners don't provide the containers for patrons they'll face a fine too.

Smokers we spoke with say they'll definitely think twice before throwing their cigarette butts on the ground.

"To be honest yes it is, it's a good idea just to keep the city clean and make the environment better," said smoker Pedro Bonilla.

Meanwhile, some smokers are setting new health goals before the law takes effect. "I’ll probably end up quitting smoking by January First. That's my goal,” said smoker James Williams.

The law takes effect January 1, 2014. 

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