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City wants tobacco companies to put out their litter

Posted On: Nov. 22, 2022 10:16 AM CST


No butts about it: the City of Baltimore wants tobacco companies to pay to clean up their non-biodegradable cigarette filters. 

In a first-of-its-kind lawsuit, the city wants to hold tobacco companies responsible for the cleanup of cigarette butts, “millions” of which have been found in the waters around the city since 2014, according to NBC affiliate WBAL-TV.

“There are all kinds of clean-up problems, from catching them to getting rid of the chemicals they leave in their wake,” James Shea, Baltimore’s solicitor, told the news station.

Mr. Shea said the lawsuit is seeking as much as $5 million annually for the cleanup, alleging the tobacco companies have refused to put warnings about how to properly dispose of the filters on their boxes for fear of reduced sales. And also, the companies could make the filters biodegradable but have chosen not to, according to the suit.

“They didn’t change it — according to documents we’ve seen — to biodegradable filters because smokers preferred the draw that comes with the filter,” Mr. Shea said.