WHERE there’s smoke there’s ire – and a huge fine if you are silly enough to throw your butt out of a car.
About $1.3million in fines have been issued during nearly three years to Queenslanders who have done the wrong thing with their butts.
Smokers from the Sunshine Coast, Ipswich and Mackay have been among the worst offenders.
Smokers on the Coast have earned 218 fines for dropping their butts since February 2012.
Clean Up Australia champion Joe Jurisevic said it was good to see littering laws being enforced.
Mr Jurisevic said smokers did not consider the consequences of failing to properly dispose of their butts.
“I think it’s probably just a habit. Like a lot of littering people do, there’s no thought about the damage,” he said.
“Some smokers do the right thing but unfortunately there are a number of people who just don’t think of the consequences of dropping that butt.”
Cigarette butts can take up to five years to break down and contain toxins which can leach when wet.
About 5817 fines for improperly disposing of cigarette butts have been issued around the state.
The fines meted out by the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection range from $227 for throwing a cigarette butt from a vehicle to $455 for dangerous littering.
Keep Australia Beautiful chief Peter McLean said drivers were the main offenders.
“I’ve had a lit cigarette hit me in the face that was flicked out of a car window before – people are just not getting the message,” he said.
“You may have a license to drive, but you don’t have a license to litter.”
Rural Fire Service Queensland Assistant Commissioner Neil Gallant said butts caused hundreds of blazes each year.
“We’re asking people to think about the consequences of their actions, be responsible and help prevent bushfires,” he said.