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Smokers face fines for discarded butts

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Smokers face fines for discarded butts
phgaillard2001
08:46 CET+01:00

Smokers who toss their cigarette butts onto the street could face a fine of €35 ($45) under new plans unveiled by city authorities in Paris.

L'Express magazine reported that the fine will be the latest plank of its strategy to cut litter in the city.

"A cigarette butt is very toxic and takes several years to degrade," said the man in charge of the city's cleanliness, François Dagnaud.

315 tonnes of mégots, as they are known in French, are collected each year.

Since a smoking ban was introduced in public places in 2008, the number of cigarette butts in the streets has increased as smokers take to puffing outdoors. 

Daily newspaper Le Figaro said Paris has become like a "gigantic open-air ashtray."

City authorities have already installed 2,000 ashtrays in the streets and plan to have up to 30,000 in place by 2014.

Figures released earlier this week revealed a 5 percent drop in the number of cigarettes sold in the final quarter of 2011. 

The drop coincided with price rises that have put a packet of cigarettes above the €6 level.

Health experts say it is too early to say whether the drop in smoking is permanent or just a temporary response to the price increase.

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