Smokers urged to bin it or pay up

Meredith Anderson from the council's Environmental Department was on hand to provide information on stopping smoking while shopper Kathleen Millar was given one of the new 'butt boxes'. INNT 13-215-CON
Meredith Anderson from the council's Environmental Department was on hand to provide information on stopping smoking while shopper Kathleen Millar was given one of the new 'butt boxes'. INNT 13-215-CON

Newtownabbey Borough Council’s Enforcement Team took their ‘Mess Up, Clean Up or Pay Up’ campaign to the Abbeycentre to raise awareness of cigarette litter with the clear message ‘No Butts…Bin It!’

The message highlighted that cigarette butts do constitute litter and that, as with any type of litter, anyone caught dropping cigarette butts will receive a Fixed Penalty Notice of £50, to be increased to £80 after April 1 2012.

The team helped educate the public and also highlighed to employees at Abbeycentre how they must dispose of cigarette butts responsibly when smoking outside the workplace. Management at Abbeycentre will be providing additional cigarette butt bins at entrances, leaving people with no excuse not to bin their butts.

The team are currently visiting licensed premises across the borough with posters, and distributing ‘butt boxes’ which allow smokers to be responsible when disposing cigarette butts, regardless of whether they are near a bin or not.

Staff will also be making sure that all licensed premises are aware that as of March 1 2012 the law has changed to make it illegal to sell tobacco products directly to the public from vending machines. Any premises allowing the sale of tobacco products from a vending machine directly to members of the public could face prosecution and a fine of up to £2,500.

Research shows that 7 out of 10 smokers want to stop and council staff can provide information on the free stop smoking services that are available in the area. For further information contact Environmental Services on Tel: 028 9034 0161.