Tobacco waste - make the industry pay!
ASH Ireland very much welcomes the comprehensive article on cigarette waste by Smith and McDaniel. This is an issue ASH Ireland has been actively engaged with. In November 2009 ASH Ireland met with the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government (Leader of the Green Party in Ireland) and outlined the scale of the problem to him and his department. Cigarette waste accounts for nearly half of all the litter pollution in Ireland over many years. This is due to the indifference of both smokers and the tobacco industry as to how to dispose of cigarette waste. ASH Ireland has also submitted its analysis of the problem to the public consultation process for a new waste policy. In addition ASH Ireland has asked that 50 cent be levied directly on the tobacco industry for every pack of 20 cigarettes that they seek to sell and that it be paid at source by the tobacco industry. The tobacco industry could then pass on the levy to their customer base should they so wish. The key point here is that the State, which has to clean up cigarette waste, would put the responsibility on the tobacco industry to pay for the waste problems caused by their products rather than putting the responsibility on the consumer. The revenue raised by such a levy could then be used to support local government in their efforts to prevent and clean up after cigarette waste pollution. Some of the funding could also be used to raise awareness among young people as to the environmental harm that tobacco use causes both at home and abroad. ASH Ireland would urge other tobacco control organisations to raise this issue with their respective governments so as to broaden our tobacco control activities and involve a wider discussion on the negative effects of tobacco use.
Dr Fenton Howell ASH Ireland Denshaw House Dublin 2.
Conflict of Interest:
Board member of ASH Ireland