Litter warnings on cigarette packages could help reduce the serious problem of cigarette waste which is destroying our environment, a Fine Gael councillor has said. Local Cllr. Emer Higgins, said it is clear we need to reassess our approach to the problem of cigarette ends which account for the majority of litter in Ireland. Cllr Higgins said: “We have seen welcome progress in driving down the number of smokers in Ireland. Last year the Healthy Ireland Survey found that the prevalence of smoking had dropped to 20pc.
“However, despite this success, cigarette waste still accounts for a massive proportion of litter nationally. “The 2018 National Litter Pollution Monitoring System Report showed that cigarette items make up 54.4% of all litter. “We can see it almost everywhere we go – on our streets and in our parks and playgrounds, and it is a major blight on our environment. “It’s clear need to reassess how we tackle this problem overall, and I believe we should examine the idea of adding compulsory litter warnings to cigarette packets. “We have seen the positive effects of the health warnings on cigarette packets and I believe there is scope for using this approach to educate people about the harmful effects of their discarded cigarette ends on the environment. “It is absolutely imperative that such a move would not in any way diminish the impact of the health warnings but adding some impactful information about the harmful effects of cigarette waste to packaging could encourage smokers to think twice about discarding their butts. “As the public become more environmentally aware generally I think now is an ideal time to tackle this problem head on,” she concluded.