Most of the people that I know who are smokers are very responsible. They are very considerate of those of us who don't smoke. This means they confine their smoking to designated areas and are always very careful to carefully place all cigarette butts in the collection bin provided. Unfortunately not all smokers are like the ones that I know and their careless tossing of old butts is becoming quite a problem.

That problem is being addressed in the current session of the Louisiana Legislature. Representative Patrick Connick of Marrero said the idea to propose legislation to stop smokers from dropping their butts in public places came after a clean up campaign. Connick said that review of monthly roadside cleanup efforts showed thousands and thousands of discarded butts. He told the Louisiana Radio Network,

"It's unbelievable. These people are littering and throwing their cigarette butts out. They don't think it's litter but it is litter and something needs to be done about it and they need to keep their butts in their cars,"

Under Connick's proposal those found guilty of flicking their butts into public places could face a fine of $300 and 8 hours of community service. Many other states have even harsher penalties for butt dumping. In Illinois the fine is $2500 for a second or third offense.

According to those who track litter, cigarette butts are the biggest cause of litter in our country. Mr.Connick hopes his initiative will be a not-so-gentle reminder to discard that butt safely and securely and not let it end up fouling our streets, rivers and streams.