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Littering smokers to be offered rewards if they quit

A cigarette Image copyright PA
Image caption Littering smokers are fined £80, reduced to £55 if they pay within 10 days

Smokers caught dropping their cigarette butts are to be rewarded with shopping vouchers - if they complete an anti-smoking course.

The policy being introduced by a south London council is aimed at improving health and stopping littering.

Wandsworth Council will hand over £30 vouchers if someone can prove they have given up smoking.

The policy will apply to those littering all "smoking-related rubbish" - including empty packets.

The council will also hand out pocket ashtrays to promote stop smoking campaigns and "litter education exercises" will be held to support the borough-wide pilot scheme.

Jonathan Cook, the council's environment spokesman, said the approach would "simultaneously help people give up smoking and reduce the amount of smoking-related litter".

The council's health spokesman Jim Maddan added: "We know that 65% of smokers want to quit, but often they don't know where to turn for help. This scheme will help them find that help."

Cost of smoking

Of the 614 litter-related fines issued in Wandsworth in the last year, 50% were for dropping smoking-related rubbish.

The fine is £80, reduced to £55 if paid within 10 days.

The council reported the cost of smoking to Wandsworth is around £30m a year - through lost productivity from early deaths, smoking breaks, NHS costs, passive smoking, waste disposal and smoking-related fires.

Similar schemes have been introduced in other London boroughs including Enfield, Haringey and Maidstone and the City of London.

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