Paris smokers to face fines

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Flickr, G Morel
Smoking in Paris

FRENCH authorities have introduced new measures to stop people dropping cigarette ends on the streets of Paris meaning anyone caught dropping butts will face a €68 fine.

An estimated 28 per cent of people in France smoke, a relatively high rate for Europe although it is higher in Spain and Greece, and city officials say about 350 tonnes of cigarette stubs are collected from Paris streets every year.

Many blame bans on smoking inside bars and restaurants put into effect in 2008 for the problem as smokers are forced onto the streets and subsequently create more litter. Yet cigarette ends are a problem as they take years to decompose and release heavy metals and pollutants while doing so.

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“These toxic substances are harmful to surrounding flora and fauna and when swept or thrown into gutters they also pollute the water,” city authorities have said in a statement.

Along with the increased fines, measures include distribution of about 15,000 free pocket ashtrays amongst locals and visitors to the city.

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