San Francisco - smokers may pay for cigarette litter pickup..

May 19, 2009 - In what he casts as an attack on litterbugs and nicotine addiction alike, Mayor Gavin Newsom wants to impose a fee on an age-old inhabitant of city streets: the cigarette butt. The added cost, Mr. Newsom hopes, will also dampen smokers’ urge to light up. “In general, fees help reduce the consumption and use of tobacco,” he said in an interview. “And we think that will have a very beneficial public health component.”

The proposal, to be introduced next month to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, would add 33 cents to the cost of a pack of cigarettes, to offset the estimated $10.7 million the city spends annually removing discarded butts from gutters, drainpipes and sidewalks. It is no longer just cigarette butts litter, more and more moist snuff products such as Grizzly or Camel SNUS come in tobacco pouches that are sucked on and eventually discarded. Tobacco Pouch ready to be discarded. If you thought Cigarette Butts Everywhere Were Bad Wait Until Discarded SNUS Bags.. -

Officials here say the municipal fee would be the first in the country to take aim specifically at cigarette butts, particularly filters, which are not biodegradable. But the idea is expected to run into fierce opposition from tobacco companies.

Serena Chen, regional director of policy and tobacco programs for the American Lung Association in California, said litter-mitigation efforts aimed specifically at cigarettes had been proposed in legislatures in a couple of states (though never enacted), but that a city-level approach was new and welcome. “Anytime you raise the price of cigarettes, you discourage new starters,” Ms. Chen said, “and you increase the motivation of people who want to quit.”

San Francisco, California has already proved to be tough on smokers. Last year the city imposed a ban on the sale of tobacco at drugstores, a restriction that is being challenged in state and federal courts.

Reference; Cost of Cigarette Litter May Fall on San Francisco’s Smokers by JESSE McKINLEY, The New York Times, 5/18/2009.