Tobacco firms will be forced to pay for cleaning up millions of discarded cigarette butts in Spain

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Tobacco companies will have to pay for cleaning up millions of discarded cigarette butts under new environmental rules in Spain

  • One study said the cost will be €12 to €21 per citizen per year – up to €1 billion
  • Tobacco companies are expected to pass the costs on to consumers
  • About 500 Spanish beaches have become smoke-free to reduce marine pollution

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Tobacco companies will have to pay for cleaning up millions of discarded cigarette butts under new environmental rules in Spain.

The ruling, which takes effect on Friday, is part of a package of measures aimed at more recycling and less waste.

According to The protectorthe ruling includes a ban on single-use plastic cutlery and plates, cotton swabs, polystyrene cups and plastic straws, as well as reducing plastic food packaging.

The law is in line with a European Union directive that restricts the use of single-use plastics and teaches polluters how to clean up the mess they create.

Tobacco companies must pay for cleaning up millions of discarded cigarette butts under new environmental laws in Spain. [File image]

Tobacco companies must pay for cleaning up millions of discarded cigarette butts under new environmental laws in Spain. [File image]

Cigarette manufacturers will also be responsible for encouraging the public not to dispose of their butts in public settings, though it remains unclear how the cleanup will be conducted and what the cost will be.

One study said the cost is between €12 and €21 per citizen per year, adding up to €1 billion (£882,000) in total.

Meanwhile, earlier this year, the Catalan government proposed a scheme whereby cigarette butts could be exchanged for €0.20 each – €4 added to the current average price of €5 per pack of 20.

Tobacco companies are expected to pass the cost on to consumers, providing additional incentive to quit smoking.

About 500 Spanish beaches have been declared smoke-free to reduce the number of cigarette butts ending up in the sea and improve public health. [File image]

About 500 Spanish beaches have been declared smoke-free to reduce the number of cigarette butts ending up in the sea and improve public health. [File image]

About 500 Spanish beaches have been declared smoke-free to reduce the number of cigarette butts ending up in the sea and improve public health. [File image]

According to government statistics from last year, about 22 percent of Spaniards – 23.3 percent of men and 16.4 percent of women – smoke, compared to an EU average of 18.4 percent.

A survey by the Family Medicine Association found that 85 percent are in favor of further restrictions on smoking, while 72 percent are in favor of banning smoking in the outdoor areas of bars and restaurants.

It’s because cigarette butts are one of the most universal forms of litter, taking about 10 years to decompose while emitting toxins like lead and arsenic.

About 500 Spanish beaches have been declared smoke-free to reduce the number of cigarette butts ending up in the sea and improve public health.

Barcelona banned smoking on all 10 of the city’s beaches last year.