Baltimore Sues Tobacco Companies Over Litter

    Photo: Tobacco Reporter archive

    The city of Baltimore is suing several major tobacco companies, requesting as much as $5 million annually for the cleanup of cigarette butt litter, according to WBALTV11.

    Since 2014, more than 12 million cigarette butts have been cleaned up from the waters surrounding Baltimore, city officials said.

    “There are all kinds of cleanup problems, from catching them [cigarette butts] to getting rid of the chemicals they leave in their wake,” said James Shea, Baltimore City solicitor.

    The lawsuit alleges that the tobacco companies have refused to place warnings on their boxes explaining how to properly dispose of filters and that they have chosen not to make filters biodegradable.

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

    The ultimate goal is to see the companies become more environmentally friendly, according to Shea. “We’d like to have the practice stop, but, in the meantime, we want damages in the nature of cleanup costs and their fines associated with various litter ordinances that are being violated.”

    The companies have 30 days to respond in court.