New law lists cigarette butts as litter


Reporter - Kendall Downing

The group 'Keep America Beautiful' says cigarette butts are the number one most littered item in the country. 

Come January first, tossing a butt on the ground in Illinois will be considered littering, and hefty fines will follow if you're caught. 

Robert Hester's been lighting up for 45 years.

"Doctor keeps saying for me to quit"
He says he knows smoking isn't the healthiest habit, but Hester says he's a steward of his cigarette butts, and keeping them 'off' the ground. 
"I try not to through them down you know, but sometimes I slip myself."
Illinois lawmakers defined cigarette butts as litter last spring.
In the new year tossing a butt the first time is a class B misdemeanor, complete with a fine of up to 15 hundred dollars. 
The second time, the fine's the same but the charge is bumped up to a class A misdemeanor. 
The third time you could do one to three years in jail and pay up to 25-thousand dollars. 
Marion, Illinois Police Chief, John Eibeck says officers won't be on cigarette butt patrol.
But the tightened litter law gives police another reason to make a traffic stop, and who knows what they could find.  
"More often than not, it's the little things that lead to a big thing, like i said, it could lead to drugs, a DUI"
Robert Hester thinks the tougher consequences are a good idea, though hard to enforce.