SF Smokers May Have to Cough Up for Butt Cleanup

Mayor proposes hefty tax hike to make smokers cover litter removal
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 19, 2009 5:26 AM CDT
SF Smokers May Have to Cough Up for Butt Cleanup
Cleaning up cigarette butts from sidewalks, drains, and elsewhere costs San Francisco an estimated $10 million a year.   (©waferboard)

San Francisco's mayor believes non-smokers shouldn't have to cover the costs of cleaning up cigarette butts, the New York Times reports. Gavin Newsom has proposed a 33-cent tax on each pack of cigarettes sold, which he says will cover the $10 million a year it costs to pick up after smokers who treat the city like an ashtray—as well as helping persuade more people to kick the habit.

"Fees help reduce the consumption and use of tobacco,” Newsom said. “And we think that will have a very beneficial public health component. It’s not a huge part of the overall budget,” he said of the $11 million he expects the tax to generate. “But it’s enough to keep street sweepers employed.” (More cigarette stories.)

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