Tossing out a cigarette butt could soon cost $100 - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Tossing out a cigarette butt could soon cost $100

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - If you're a cigarette smoker - watch out.

Flicking a cigarette butt on the ground could cost you a hundred bucks if a bill proposed in the General Assembly is passed. 

You usually don't have to walk far to find a cigarette butt on the sidewalk.

Right now littering in general is against the law. Richmond Delegate Joe Morrissey wants to change that. He's proposing a bill that explicitly outlaws littering cigarette butts.

"It's disgraceful," Morrissey said. "It's terrible and anything we can do to stop it, we ought to."

Morrissey claims cigarette butts are the most littered item in the world.

"They'll either flick the cigarette butt out the window or they'll come up to an intersection and literally take the ashtray and dump it right outside the car," he said. "It's almost like, 'I want my car to be clean and I don't care about the environment.'"

Morrissey says his bill would complement the current law and ideally would get people to stop littering, one citation at a time.

Most people wouldn't be happy seeing someone throw a water bottle out the window, but for some reason, cigarette butts are more socially acceptable.

Kermit Hines doesn't smoke. He says it's about time people start being fined for tossing cigarette butts.

"It's convenient for a lot of people but unfortunately it's litter," Hines said. "If I was about to throw out a McDonald's bag and McDonald's cup, I'd be fined for litter."

But smokers like Kent Kulick say this bill is a waste of time. He says most smokers don't litter and cigarettes are biodegradable.

"They sweep the streets anyways so where does the $100 go to? To clean up?" Kulick said.  "They going to hire someone to go and pick up cigarette butts?"

Morrissey says he plans to keep proposing this bill until it passes. He's also sponsoring a similar bill that could also fine people for smoking in a car with a child under the age of 13. 

Copyright 2012 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.

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